On 17 February 2015, MMA and SOS joined Caxton Publishers in an application to the Competition Tribunal for the contract selling the SABC archives to Multichoice to be cellared a notifiable merger. The application is focused on the deal between Multichoice and the SABC, was entered into in 2013,and is set to last to 2018. In addition to handing the SABC archives to a commercial competitor in Multichoice.
It is our shared view that in terms of Section 12 of the Competition Act, the deal entered into between the SABC and Multichoice, in which Multichoice acquired control over part of the SABC business, constitutes a mandatory notifiable merger. We are not aware of any attempt to notify the Competition Tribunal of such a merger. If the deal is proven to be a notifiable merger it will enable us to oppose the merger on the basis that it is not in the public interest for it to take place.
Since this application, MMA has received a spirited take-down notice directing it to remove the court papers and contract from its website on 27 March, which can be seen here. MMA responded with this notice, 30 March which highlighted that court records are by default public documents, and are open to public scrutiny at all times. On 9th April MMA received this notice from Multichoice’s attorneys, conceding that there was no basis in law to demand that it take these documents down.
What appears to be the case is that Multichoice wishes to keep the public under-informed, if at all, about its acquisition of the SABC family jewel. The big question is #What’sTheBigSecret?
The following documents relating to the case are now available to view or download:
13 Feb 2015: Caxton, MMA and SOS application.
30 March 2015: Supplementary affidavit- Part one:Caxton.