The much-awaited (by some, I suppose) independent debut of MultiChoice on the JSE happened today, and it was a resounding success. Shares started trading at R95.50, and by 11:00 on Wednesday had reached R111.12 bringing the value of the company to just under R50 billion. This marks the biggest listing for the JSE since Steinhoff International Holdings unbundled its Africa operations and rebranded as Pepkor Holdings.
In case you’ve forgotten all about Steinhoff, here’s a nice little hub of the greatest hits to rage-read when bored.
So, what will actually change now that MultiChoice is no longer beholden to parent company Naspers? Well, for South African consumers, probably not much. For the rest of Africa, maybe things will get interesting. Approximately half of MultiChoice’s subscribers are based in South Africa, but according to company CFO Tim Jacobs, the company’s focus will be on increasing penetration in the rest of the continent.
MultiChoice isn’t without continental competition from local broadcasters, much cheaper streaming options like Netflix, and the public’s general unwillingness to pay high subscription fees. To address the changing market’s needs, the company has launched its own streaming service Showmax and a mobile app for subscribers to watch content on the go, but whether that will be enough to compete in a very price-conscious market remains to be seen.