MultiChoice’s three bad bets

MultiChoice CEO Calvo Mawela

MultiChoice’s investments in Kingmakers, Questar, and Bidstack have cost it large amounts without any return on investment.

MultiChoice released its latest annual results this month, revealing that the company made a R4.1 billion loss and has become technically insolvent.

MultiChoice further suffered a 9% decline in active subscribers, mainly due to a 13% decline in the Rest of Africa business and a 5% decline in South Africa.

With a dwindling DStv subscriber base and mounting liabilities, MultiChoice has been looking for growth opportunities.

It is pumping billions into Showmax, hoping to capture a large chunk of the growing African streaming market.

MultiChoice highlighted that Showmax revenues for the year grew by 22% to R1.0 billion, while trading losses increased to R2.6 billion.

It warned investors that some operational expenses and depreciation were shifted into the next financial year, which will result in incremental trading losses.

Although MultiChoice hopes to generate $1 billion (R18.5 billion) within the next five years with its Showmax 2.0 service, it is far from guaranteed.

It has also launched many other products, including DStv Stream, DStv Internet, and Extra Stream.

While these segments showed growth, MultiChoice did not release data which shows their true performance.

As the company searches for growth, it has also gone on an acquisition spree. To date, the results have been poor.

It had to write down its investment in two of the companies – Questar and Bidstack – to nil. Another, Kingmakers, has cost it billions.

Here is a look at three of MultiChoice’s bad bets, which have harmed its balance sheet and lost investors’ trust.

Questar Auto Technologies

In 2022, MultiChoice approved a merger transaction in which it transferred all of its shareholding in SafeRide in exchange for a 7.6% share of Questar Auto Technologies.

SafeRide was a leading provider of multi-layer cybersecurity and data analytics solutions for connected and autonomous vehicles.

Questar is a predictive vehicle health company that introduces AI technology to the automotive industry.

In 2022, MultiChoice said the investment was worth R92 million. Two years later, Multichoice impaired Questar to R nil.

It explained that Questar was loss-making, and it determined that the company would continue to generate losses in the future.


Multichoice acquired a 12.1% interest in the in-game advertising group Bidstack for R118 million in 2023.

However, a year later, Bidstack was delisted from the London Stock Exchange and went into administration.

MultiChoice wrote down its entire investment in Bidstack to R nil.


MultiChoice lost a tremendous amount of money after investing nearly R6 billion in Blue Lake Ventures, which was traded as BetKing and later changed its name to KingMakers.

Multichoice bought a large stake in the online betting platform Kingmakers for R6 billion between 2020 and 2021.

This investment delivered extraordinarily poor results. For the 2023 financial year, it reported a loss of R500 million.

Daily Investor calculated that Kingmakers’ loss extended to around R850 million for the 2024 financial year.

The latest annual results showed that Kingmakers’ revenue fell short of the previous period. It declined by 26% from $198 million to $147 million.

Last year, MultiChoice said an increase in Nigeria’s discount rates prompted a R2 billion write-down in the value of KingMakers.

Kingmakers is currently recorded in Multichoice’s financial statements at R4.2 billion.


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