TopTV shareholders lose patience

Two shareholders in South Africa’s On Digital Media (ODM), which trades as TopTV, are taking the business rescue practitioner and ODM to court with the aim of preventing the sale of the broadcaster to StarTimes Group.

In April StarTimes committed to buying the ODM assets following ODM entry into the local version of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection almost exact a year ago.

In a letter posted on the TopTv website on Monday (21 October), Peter van den Steen, the business rescue practitioner of ODM said that First National Media Investment Holdings (20.4 per cent) and Atchuthanandan Moodley (0.7 per cent) with a combined holding of 21.1 per cent, were seeking interdictory relief against him and ODM, and thus preventing the practitioner from taking any steps to implement the business rescue plan.

The case has been launched in the South Gauteng High Court, and is scheduled to be heard over the next week. The court papers argue that the business rescue practitioner has already implemented significant aspects of the Business Restructuring Plan in what appears to be permanent respects (including the divestiture of key assets of ODM) that cannot apparently be undone.

The papers add that China-backed StarTimes Group is under financial stress of its own, which would then be tied to that of ODM. Stakeholders have until October 23rd to respond.

SES Astra owns 20 per cent of ODM.

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