Multichoice alleged to have planned ODM collapse
During last week’s unsuccessful court hearing in Johannesburg by a minority (0.7 per cent) shareholder of On Digital Media (ODM), it emerged that the court-appointed business rescue practitioner believed that the applicant, Atchuthanandan Nadaraja Moodley, was being deliberately funded by rivals in order to “ensure the business [of ODM] was permanently removed from the market”.
Business-rescue practitioner Petrus Francois van den Steen said in an affidavit that he questioned the motive behind Moodley’s application. “Given the lack of any commercial rationale for the applicant to oppose the implementation of the ODM rescue plan, and the obvious interest that Multichoice, as the sole player in the pay-TV market, has in ensuring that the rescue of the business of the first respondent should fail, it is my belief that Multichoice or a competitor of the first respondent is behind this application.”
Van den Steen is taking the ODM business (which traded as TopTV) through the South African version of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
ODM chief executive Eddie Mbalo said they were relieved the case was over so they could go ahead with future plans for the company. “Most of the conditions for business rescue have been met. This was the only obstacle, so hopefully if nothing happens in the next few weeks, the company will be able to go forward,” Mbalo said.
Moodley will now see his 0.7 per cent stake reduced to 0.123 per cent of the new business which will be owned by Star Times Communications, part of the China-backed Star Times Group.