In the last six months, MultiChoice’s share price has plunged by 49%, wiping R32 billion (~$23 million) in shareholder value.
On March 6, 2023, MultiChoice’s stock was trading at R147. As the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) closed on September 21, the pan-African broadcaster’s share price was trading at R74—a 49% decline.
The following timeline provides insights into the significant events that may have driven the company’s share price down in the last six months.
On March 6, MultiChoice, NBCUniversal, and Sky announced a partnership that would see the relaunch of a new version of Showmax, termed “ShowMax 2.0,” which will be powered by NBCUniversal’s Peacock technology platform.
The announcement indicates that the partnership will be a holding group, with 70% owned by MultiChoice and 30% by NBCUniversal. In Nigeria, one of MultiChoice’s major markets, NBCUniversal will hold an indirect 23.7% stake in the local subsidiary. Following the announcement, MultiChoice’s share price jumped to R147, its peak since the company started trading on the JSE in February 2019.
However, the excitement lasts only eight days. On March 14, the company stated that load-shedding and a weak economy have significantly reduced activity in its SA business and that its earnings will miss projections. On the same day, the broadcaster’s share price plummets to R120, a 14% decline from the previous day’s trading value.
On April 4, MultiChoice announced plans to launch a technology division headed by the newly appointed group chief technology officer, Nyiko Shiburi. The new division will house the broadcast technology division, enterprise business systems, group digital, DStv Streaming technology, and project management office.
“We are repositioning our technology area to lead our next growth phase and to deliver on our vision of becoming the technology platform of choice for African households. We have consolidated everything related to technology, engineering, and technical divisions into a technology hub,” said MultiChoice Group CEO Calvo Mawela.
Following the announcement, MultiChoice’s share price dropped from R125 to R112 over the course of 10 days, a 10% plummet.
Between April 4 and May 29, MultiChoice’s share price dropped by 17%. On May 29, the company announced that it is entering the payments space by launching a new integrated payments platform in partnership with Rapyd, a B2B payment processing platform, and General Catalyst, a venture capital firm that provides early-stage and growth equity investments.
The platform, to be housed under an entity called “Moment,” will aim to offer payment infrastructure for businesses across Africa to help them collect and make payments easier, quicker, and more affordable in any manner that their buyers or suppliers prefer.
Additionally, the platform will offer options for consumers to spend and save money more wisely to “transform the African payments landscape by making digital payments more accessible and reliable for domestic, cross-border and global payments.”
The announcement failed to boost the share price. The next day, May 30, the share price traded at R96, its lowest since September 2020.
On June 5, MultiChoice stated that its annual results would show substantial drops in earnings and headline earnings per share despite solid subscriber growth and its rest of Africa business returning to profitability.
The company blames forex losses for the decline as the rand and naira struggle against the dollar. However, shareholders were unconvinced, and the company’s share price dropped by 3%.
On June 14, MultiChoice announced its end-of-year financial results for 31 March 2023. Despite showing strong topline performance, the company shares that it will continue investing in “Showmax 2.0” and withholding dividends.
“In view of the challenging South African market, the uncertain currency outlook, the funding needs of the Rest of Africa business and the investment required to drive Showmax to become the leading streaming platform on the continent, no dividend has been declared for FY23,” the company stated.
The company also announced that it lost $108 million of its investment in Nigeria betting company KingMakers.
On July 4, JP Morgan Chase & Co. downgraded the pan-African broadcaster’s stock rating. The brokerage firm adjusts MultiChoice’s ratings downwards from “neutral” to “underweight.” An “underweight” rating means JP Morgan expects the company to underperform based on the average total return of stocks in its coverage universe over the next 6 to 12 months.
The company was downgraded as J.P. Morgan believes it intends to “throw considerably more money at Showmax than what the market expects,” according to reporting by Reuters.
As a result of the downgrade, MultiChoice plummeted by 12% on the same day, ending the day trading at R82 from the previous day’s R94. It somewhat recovers the next day to close at R88 and, despite jittery movement in the course of the month, close at R88.
Over the course of August, Multichoice’s share price lost a further 12%. Having opened the month at R89, it closes at R78 on the market closes on August 31.
During that period, the company announced that it had pulled its DStv service out of its Malawi market following pressure from the regulators to freeze price hikes.
As of September, the company has already lost 4% of its share price value despite several leadership changes, including the appointment of Marc Jury as interim CEO of Showmax, Rendani Ramovha as SuperSport CEO, and Keabetswe Modimoeng as group executive of corporate affairs and stakeholder relations.
Additionally, the board of directors chairperson stepped down due to shareholder pressure. “Given shareholder preference for an independent chair, it was always envisaged that Mr Patel would step down at the appropriate time once a suitable replacement as independent chair had been identified,” MultiChoice said in a statement.
Also in September, public broadcaster SABC dragged MultiChoice to the Competition Commission over disagreements on licensing rights for the ongoing rugby World Cup.
Over the last half a year, MultiChoice’s shareholders have lost a cumulative R32 billion (~$23 million) in their investment in the pan-African broadcasting giant.
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