Canal+ and MultiChoice have agreed terms for the French Vivendi-owned company to acquire full control of the African television service provider. The offer is conditional on regulatory approval and is subject to revision if a better offer is made by another party. The aim is to create a company more able to compete with other global players.

Having operated in Africa for over 30 years, serving 8 million African consumers directly, the French Canal+ Group had increased its stake in MultiChoice in recent years to become the largest shareholder.

On 1 February, Canal+ made an offer to acquire the remaining MultiChoice shares that it did not own at a price of ZAR 105 per share. The board of MultiChoice considered that this undervalued the company.

Canal+ proceeded to acquire further shares in MultiChoice, taking it over the 35% ownership threshold. This was followed by a regulatory ruling that Canal+ had to make a mandatory offer for the rest of the shares.

Canal+ ultimately agreed to an offer price of ZAR 125 per share, placing a 66.66% premium on the price of MultiChoice at the start of February, when Canal+ first made an indicative offer for the company.

The two companies have now entered into a cooperation agreement regarding the offer.

Canal+ says its ambition is to build a global entertainment leader with Africa at its heart, combining scale, complementary geographies and international reach with strong local roots, that will support the commercial development of Africa’s sporting and cultural industries and take leading authentic African stories to a global audience.

The aim is to provide an enhanced service and product offering, underpinned by technology solutions owned by the combined company, with further investment in the continued offering of a leading satellite service, and rolling out more innovative streaming products.

Maxime Saada, the chairman and chief executive of Canal+ Group, said: “Through combining our companies, we will be well positioned to invest even more in local productions and sports content, supporting the world-leading and vibrant creative ecosystem on the African continent and all over the world, and producing even more high-quality and compelling local stories. The complementary geographies, considerable scale, and strengthened capabilities achieved by the combination of these two great companies will ensure that Africa can tell her own stories on her own terms both locally and globally.”

Canal+ is a subsidiary of Vivendi, which is currently evaluating the potential to split the company into several separately listed entities.

The stated aim of Canal+ is to be a credible alternative to other international media companies and global online video platforms, with the objective of reaching 70-100 million subscribers worldwide.

Canal+ currently has 26.4 million subscribers worldwide, including 17.1 outside France, with 8.1 million in Africa. The studio arm, Studiocanal, has a library of 9,000 titles. Canal+ produces 130 channels in house and aggregates other channels as well as offering global online video services including Netflix, Disney+, Paramount+, and Apple TV+.

To be fair, Canal+ was the first to use the plus designation, starting broadcasting under that name in France in 1984.