The Naspers/MultiChoice/SABC saga gets stranger by the minute.
US-based legal firm Pomerantz has waded into the fray by initiating an investigation into claims that Naspers and certain of its officers or directors might have engaged in securities fraud or other unlawful business practices.
This could result in the firm launching a class action lawsuit against Naspers.
The development follows revelations that Naspers’ subsidiary MultiChoice allegedly tried to influence decision-makers on the type of technology that should be deployed once South Africa had completed the move from analogue to digital TV. Naspers last week announced that MultiChoice had initiated an investigation into whether improper payments were made to ANN7, once owned by the Gupta family.
While Naspers CEO Koos Bekker insists the payments are above board, the substantial increases have raised eyebrows – over the last two years MultiChoice increased its annual payment to ANN7 from R50 million to R141 million.
On this news, Naspers’ American Depositary Receipt price fell $3.05, or 5.58%, to close at $51.60 on December 1. In South Africa, the share fell 3.47% from R3 629.97 at the opening on Tuesday morning to R3 467.70 just after midday.
The Pomerantz Firm, with offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Paris, is active in the areas of corporate, securities, and antitrust class litigation. Recent securities litigation includes cases against AOL TimeWarner, Avid Technology, Lucent, Groupon and Tesla.
The firm appears to have pioneered the field of securities class actions, fighting for the rights of the victims of securities fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, and corporate misconduct and has recovered over $1 billion on their behalf.
Naspers investors have been invited to express interest in joining the class action.
Listen to the podcast: Koos Bekker versus Yunus Carrim