A case in which an On Digital Media (ODM) investor claimed his rights as a shareholder had not been taken into account has been dismissed by the High Court in Gauteng. The court found in favour of the respondents, which means ODM can now conclude its long-running business rescue process.
The court dismissed with costs the case between Mr Atchuthanandan Nadaraja Moodley and 14 respondents, including On Digital Media (Pty) Ltd, the company that officially launched the StarSat brand in October 2013.
The case stemmed from a claim by Moodley who said the business rescue plan, which was approved by the creditors and all the other shareholders on 30 April 2013, was illegal and flawed and that his rights as a shareholder of ODM had not been taken into account.
But the business rescue practitioner charged with handling ODM’s business rescue process, Peter van Den Steen, has gone on record defending Moodley’s interests and rights despite the size of his “small” shareholding, and what size it would become “after dilution”. ODM says the High Court, with this verdict, has agreed with this approach.
“Although we are delighted with the outcome of the court case, we are hopeful that the Business Rescue Practitioner will be allowed to conclude his work for the business to continue to provide a much needed alternative Pay TV service to South Africans,” says Eddie Mbalo, CEO of ODM.
ODM, the holding company of TopTV, which has become StarSat, was targeted for acquisition last year by a consortium called Dynamic TV, which hoped to outbid and outgun Chinese operation, StarTimes. Dynamic TV, led by Given Mkhari of MSG Afrika Media and Malose Kekana of Falk Trading, lost their bid that had included R500 million in investment funding from MultiChoice.
ODM claims Moodley is the CEO designate of a license holder due to compete directly with ODM, as per an application lodged with Icasa. It says Moodley had sold his shareholder loan claim during the vote on the business rescue plan by Dynamic TV.
In a statement, ODM said Moodley and others had “done all they can to disrupt the proper implementation of the business rescue plan had put at risk the much needed jobs to the more than 200 current employees of ODM and possible millions of rands due to the creditors to the business at whose mercy the business survived during the business rescue process”.
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