Picture: SUPPLIED
Picture: SUPPLIED

It is tempting to view the proposed unbundling and listing of MultiChoice on the JSE as a sign that technology giant Naspers is finally listening to investor calls to unlock value.

As welcome as any measure is to realise value for investors, there may be other factors that forced Naspers’s hand. The company has over the past few months incessantly moaned about what it termed "unfair and unregulated" competition in the form of Netflix, which has been luring away DStv subscribers to its (much cheaper) streaming service. This made MultiChoice, which had had a monopoly in pay TV until technology intervened, sound like metered taxi operators in the face of Uber.

DStv has also been losing large numbers of subscribers as financially depressed consumers downgraded, or cash-flush customers emigrated from its core SA market.

Still, in the final analysis, the Naspers decision is to be welcomed for bringing another solid, cash-flush and technology-driven business to the JSE.

MultiChoice’s pledge to further increase the BEE exposure by a further 5% — at no additional cost to the beneficiaries — will also go a long way to growing and broadening wealth redistribution in SA. Should this come to pass, the Phuthuma Nathi shareholders will own 25% of MultiChoice.

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