THE BIG DEBATE BURSTS BACK - WITH REDI TLHABI

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Naspers and MultiChoice now facing a possible class action law suit in America as Pomerantz law firm investigates claims on behalf of Naspers investors.


Media conglom Naspers and its pay-TV arm MultiChoice could now be facing a possible class action law suit in America after an America law firm announced that it's starting an investigation on behalf of Naspers investors into Naspers.

It's the latest fallout amidst the widening scandal of allegations of corruption, collusion and undue corporate influence from Naspers' MultiChoice unit to allegedly try and sway and influence South Africa's long-stalled digital migration switch from analogue to digital TV.

Explosive, leaked meeting transcripts between MultiChoice and the South African public broadcaster the SABC, as well as #GuptaLeaks contracts between MultiChoice and the controversial ANN7 D(Stv 405) channel showing massive payments from DStv to the Guptas, have raised multiple serious questions over corporate impropriety.

MultiChoice told the SABC it would pay the broadcaster R100 million for the SABC News channel but but only on the strict must-have contract clause condition that the SABC must support MultiChoice's stance on conditional access (CA) for digital television.

MultiChoice also dramatically upped its payments from R50 million per year to R100 million per year and then R141 million per year, as well as a questionable, additional R25 million payment to the Guptas for the low-rated, bad quality, mistake-filled and often criticised ANN7.

MultiChoice is paying ANN7 more despite its barely there low ratings than eNCA (DStv 403) that has more than 50% of the overall TV news audience share.

It's all created the perception that MultiChoice has paid kickbacks to both the SABC and ANN7 to use its influence to get set-top box (STB) encryption dropped from government-subsidised STBs in the switch to digital terrestrial television (DTT).

MultiChoice and Naspers that have denied the kickbacks allegations and have been very slow to respond to the public perception brand and reputation crisis, have been overly arrogant where it did respond and in instances where executives spoke publicly.

Naspers' CEO Bob van Dijk and chairperson Koos Bekker both bristled with hardly contained anger and irritation in a few media interviews done saying Naspers isn't going to get directly involved in dealings with its MultiChoice subsidiary.

The bad and slow corporate crisis communication combined with the arrogant and caustic attitudes of Koos Bekker and Bob van Dijk have done little to sway public sentiment and to create any sympathy for Naspers and MultiChoice.

After a week, the MultiChoice board finally announced that MultiChoice will launch an internal investigation into itself on the matter.

MultiChoice didn't specify in its announcement, and didn't respond when asked if the outcome of the investigation will be made public.

Now an American law firm, Pomerantz LLP is looking for Naspers investors who want to start a class action law suit against Naspers and in a public statement says "Pomerantz LLP is investigating claims on behalf of investors of Naspers Limited".

"The investigation concerns whether Naspers and certain of its officers and/or directors have engaged in securities fraud or other unlawful business practices."

Pomerantz has now created an online page where Naspers investors can join a possible class action suit.

"On December 1, 2017, Naspers reported that its wholly-owned television unit MultiChoice had initiated an investigation into whether improper payments were made to ANN7, a South African news channel owned by the politically-connected Gupta family."

"According to local media, citing leaked emails, MultiChoice substantially increased its annual payment to ANN7 from R50 million to R141 million rand ($10 million) over the past two years."

"On this news, Naspers' American Depositary Receipt price fell $3.05, or 5.58%, to close at $51.60 on December 1, 2017."

"The Pomerantz Firm, with offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Paris, is acknowledged as one of the premier firms in the areas of corporate, securities, and antitrust class litigation," says the law firm.

Pomerantz says it fights "for the rights of the victims of securities fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, and corporate misconduct. The firm has recovered numerous multi million dollar damages awards on behalf of class members."

The company said Naspers investors can contact the American law firm by reaching out to Robert S. Willoughby at rswilloughby@pomlaw.com or 888-476-6529, ext. 9980