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Naspers: We have not been informed of any legal action by investors

07 December 2017 - 09:17 By Kyle Cowan
Naspers Building.
Naspers Building.
Image: Wikimedia commons

Naspers has not been informed of any legal action by any of its investors but the company has reiterated that it is taking allegations of wrongdoing seriously‚ a spokesperson said.

On Monday leading global law firm Pomerantz LLC announced it had initiated an investigation to determine if Naspers subsidiary MultiChoice was involved in any securities fraud or unlawful business practices relating to payments to Gupta-owned ANN7.

According to reports stemming from leaked Gupta e-mails‚ MultiChoice substantially increased its annual payment to ANN7 from R50-million to R141-million over the past two years.

The Pomerantz statement added that on the back of this news‚ “Naspers' American Depositary Receipt price fell $3.05‚ or 5.58%‚ to close at $51.60 on December 1‚ 2017”.

MultiChoice and its former chief executive have denied any wrongdoing and further denied that proposed payments of R100-million a month to the SABC were in exchange for “political influence” over the state broadcaster’s digital migration initiative.

“We’ve seen the press release from US law firm Pomerantz. We understand these types of releases are not uncommon in the US following announcements related to listed entities‚” Naspers spokesperson Anika Ebrahim said.

“They don’t mean any legal proceedings are under way or will happen‚ and we have not been informed of any legal action from any of our investors.”

Ebrahim indicated that Naspers has consistently commented as follows on recent allegations in the media:

• Naspers takes the recent media allegations about MultiChoice South Africa seriously.
• MultiChoice South Africa has many minority shareholders and the responsibility for dealing with the matter lies with the independent MultiChoice South Africa board.
• Naspers has confidence in the MultiChoice South Africa board dealing with the matter‚ following their governance procedures.
• Naspers will verify that the MultiChoice South Africa board has addressed the matter adequately.

“The MultiChoice Audit & Risk committee has confirmed the action it is taking in response to the allegations in the media‚” she added.

“As stated above‚ once they complete their work following their governance procedures‚ they will report to the MultiChoice board‚ and after that has happened the Naspers board will consider whether or not it is satisfied with the action that the MultiChoice board has taken.”