Telkom to close down pay-tv venture

Zweli Mokgata

Zweli Mokgata

Telkom Group threw in the towel yesterday with an announcement that it would shut down its pay-TV venture, Telkom Media.

At the end of March last year, Telkom said it was looking to significantly decrease its shareholding in the enterprise.

Since then Telkom has been searching for investors to take over the bulk of its 66percent shareholding in Telkom Media.

Telkom released a statement saying: "Since the decision (to reduce shareholding) Telkom Media has reduced its operational expenses and commitments to a minimum.

"An extensive process to identify potential buyers of Telkom's interest in Telkom Media has proved unsuccessful.

"Telkom intends calling the necessary shareholder meetings to seek the approval for the winding up of Telkom Media," the statement said.

Telkom Media was one of the five broadcasters that won pay-TV licences in September 2007 following a heated contest between more than 20 applicants.

The other licensees were Multichoice, On Digital Media, religious channel Walking on Water and E-Sat, which folded soon after receiving its licence.

Earlier this year Telkom Media attracted media attention after it was reported to have awarded bonuses to its 100 strong workforce despite a lack of clarity about the company's future.

Telkom invested more than R7billion in Telkom Media and spent about R400million in operating expenses to help launch the company.

Chris van Zyl, Telkom Media spokesman, was reluctant to comment but said:

"We have not yet received an official announcement about Telkom Media.

"The shareholders still need to meet and they need to have 80percent approval before they wind down the company. Until then, the business is still operational," he said.

The company said it expected the shareholder meeting to take place within the next 30 days.