Chinese firm snaps up Telkom Media

7 May 2009

Chinese business is set to break into South Africa’s pay-television market, with South African fixed-line operator Telkom selling its 75% stake in Telkom Media to the local arm of Chinese firm Shenzhen Media.

Telkom Media was one of four entities awarded new broadcasting licences by the Independent Communications Authority of SA in September 2007, signalling the end of Multichoice Africa’s 12-year monopoly over the South African pay-TV market.

However, Telkom decided to divest from the media industry following a change in strategy in April 2008 and, after failing to find a buyer for its fledgling pay-TV unit – and in a last-ditch bid to save it from liquidation – launched an “accelerated sale process” in April 2009.

In terms of a deal signed late last month, Telkom will dispose of its shareholding and loan account in Telkom Media to Shenzhen Media South Africa on a “voetstoots” basis for an undisclosed “nominal amount”.

“There were no conditions precedent included in the share sale agreement, which enabled the quick conclusion of the deal,” Telkom strategy chief Naas Fourie said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Shenzhen agreed to procure Telkom Media and to change its name within 30 days,” he said, adding that Telkom Media’s future operations were now in Shenzhen’s hands.

According to Business Report, Shenzhen Media SA is owned by China-based Shenzhen Media, which owns television and radio stations in China, and local partners including black-owned Imbani Media.

“The remaining 25% in Telkom Media will be held by minority shareholders MSG Afrika Investments, Video Vision and WDB Investments Holdings, which are understood to be still mulling their involvement in the firm,” Business Report stated.

SAinfo reporter

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