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MultiChoice jumped the gun to list on JSE, says ICASA

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MultiChoice Group (MCG) listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) this morning.
MultiChoice Group (MCG) listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) this morning.

Telecoms regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA), has raised eyebrows over today's listing of MultiChoice.

MultiChoice Group (MCG) listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) this morning with shares starting to trade at R95.50.

The listing comes after Naspers last year said it was planning to list MultiChoice separately on the JSE and to unbundle the shares in the business to its shareholders.

However, the regulator is not amused.

In a statement sent to the media following the listing, the regulator says it notes with concern that the listing of the MultiChoice Group "seems to be going ahead even though there is a complaint before the Complaints and Compliance Committee (CCC) against the licensee on this listing matter".

ICASA notes that on 23 January 2019, Khulisa Social Group lodged a complaint with the CCC against MultiChoice in respect of the listing.

It adds that in its complaint, Khulisa stated that the upcoming listing of the MultiChoice Group on the JSE will result in a contravention of Section 13(1) of the Electronic Communications Act of 2005 (ECA), as amended.

Section 13(1) of the ECA states that "an individual licence may not be let, sub-let, assigned, ceded or in any way transferred, and the control of the individual licence may not be assigned, ceded or in any way transferred to any other person without the prior written permission of the Authority."

According to ICASA, MultiChoice appeared before the CCC on Monday, 18 February 2019 where the licensee argued that the matter was not urgent and that the listing had not taken place.

It explains that the MultiChoice further argued before the committee that, in any case, there was no past contravention by the licensee and that the CCC had no jurisdiction over future events.

"ICASA is indeed concerned that the listing seems to be going ahead, while the CCC is still considering representations that were made, and is yet to make its final recommendations on the matter to the Council of the Authority," says ICASA.

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