Multichoice, the digital and broadcast media division of JSE-listed company Naspers, has announced plans to sell off the business portions of its Internet service provider (ISP) Mweb to Internet Solutions, which is a division of Dimension Data, the South African IT company acquired by Japan’s Nippon Telephone and Telegraph Corporation (NTT) in late 2010.
If the deal passes muster with the Competition Tribunal, Internet Solutions will acquire Mweb Business and Optinet (the company that supplies connectivity to Nasper’s various businesses). It will also see the creation of a new company called WirelessCo that will have both Multichoice and Internet Solutions as shareholders and which will roll Mweb’s Wi-Fi services and Internet Solutions’ Always On Wi-Fi business into one entity.
For retail customers signed to Mweb Connect – the ISP’s consumer arm – it’ll be a case of business as usual, as this division doesn’t form part of the proposed sale. In other words, if you use Mweb as your home ISP you won’t have to do anything and the deal won’t make any difference to your existing services.
“Going forward, this deal will allow us to extract greater benefits and efficiencies by combining our underlying technology platforms with IS. At the same time we will be able to focus more closely on our consumer ISP, and ensure that we continue to offer you the kinds of online products and services so essential to your everyday lives,” says Mweb ISP CEO Derek Hershaw.
Really, Multichoice is simply handing over the business portions of its operation to a company arguably better suited to managing it. Meanwhile, it’s hanging onto the part of the business that requires it to look after consumer subscribers, something its had plenty of practice at with DStv and its extensive subscriber base.