Broadcasters, SES hurt by TopTV failure

A special board meeting of On Digital Media (ODM) in Johannesburg on April 30th voted in favour of the scheme put forward by StarTimes to rescue ODM’s TopTV pay-TV operator. Reportedly 99 per cent of shareholders approved the move.

The decision also means that other rival bids, in one case by a consortium backed by Multichoice, have been rejected.

StarTimes, itself backed by Chinese investors, will buy a 20 per cent stake in ODM, the maximum allowed under current broadcasting regulations.  SES of Luxembourg is a 20 per cent shareholder.

Content suppliers are owed significant sums by ODM for programming. Fox is owed ZAR 43,8 million, or 3 per cent of TopTV’s total debt and relates to its FX, Retro, Fuel, Fox and Baby channels). Time Warner is owed ZAR 25,4 million (1.7 per cent of the total debt). Paramount is owed ZAR 13.1 million, with Manchester United Television owed ZAR 9.5 million.  TopTV also owes Walt Disney ZAR 7.2 million and Turner Broadcasting ZAR 6.4 million. NBC Universal ZAR 3.9 million, Paramount is owed ZAR 13.1 million.

Smart card supplier NDS is owed ZAR 3.4 million, while SES is owed ZAR 15.3 million via its SES Global Africa and SES Platform Services subsidiaries, while a further ZAR 44.1 million of Preference shareholder claims and another shareholder claim of ZAR 115.3 million.

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