MultiChoice says details of bidding process for new 24-hour news channel to remain confidential

28 August 2018 - 20:10 By Ernest Mabuza
MultiChoice SA CEO Calvo Mawela says not all processes into picking the channel that will replace Afro Worldview will be made public
MultiChoice SA CEO Calvo Mawela says not all processes into picking the channel that will replace Afro Worldview will be made public

MultiChoice will keep details of the selection process that determined the successful bidder for the new 24-hour news channel confidential.

Answering a question from an unnamed‚ unsuccessful bidder‚ on Tuesday‚ MultiChoice CEO Calvo Mawela said the public would not be taken through every element of the process that‚ ultimately‚ resulted in Newzroom Afrika winning the bid to replace Afro Worldview on the DStv bouquet.

The two owners of Newzroom Afrika are Thokozani Nkosi and Thabile Ngwato. Newzroom Afrika was announced on Tuesday as the successful bidder for the new 24-hour news channel on DStv. An unsuccessful bidder who did not give his name‚ but who was present at the briefing to announce the successful bidder‚ asked whether there were any presentations done by bidders.

“We understand there were presentations‚ but we were not invited‚” the bidder said.

Mawela said MultiChoice had decided not take the public through every element as to who did what.

“What we took as a way of making sure that we keep this process as confidential as possible…was that we will invite the bids‚ once the bids have come in‚ the only process that we are going to undertake in terms of going to the public was the announcement‚” Mawela said.

He said the company would not be able to share any interactions between the bidding process and the final announcement.

“I am afraid that as the process that we have kept is very tight‚ I cannot share with you what happened during the process up until the announcement of the successful bidder because we have decided to keep it like that‚” Mawela said.

MultiChoice CEO for general entertainment‚ Yolisa Phahle‚ said there was a confidentiality clause to protect the bidders‚ because many of the people who were interested had existing jobs and did not want their information to be shared.

Meanwhile‚ Nkosi said he and Ngwato had premised their offering on the understanding that the way that news was consumed was continually changing.

“We are entirely independent. Thabile and myself are the only owners of this entity‚” Nkosi said.

Nkosi said their offering would increase the news watching audience in South Africa.

Nkosi ran a TV production broadcast company called Eclipse TV for 16 years. Ngwato‚ who in the past five years had been a news anchor and producer at the SABC‚ said her company‚ Rapid Innovation‚ held a 50% share in Newzroom Afrika.

Mawela said a MultiChoice team of experts had tested the bids against rigorous and objective selection criteria.

He said all bidders had then been further subjected to an independent and enhanced due diligence investigation process conducted by Thomson-Reuters.

This had included the verification of their Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) and ownership credentials‚ and a thorough analysis of the reputational risk profiles of all corporations and individuals involved.

He said only those bidders meeting the requirements were eligible for final shortlisting.