Tuesday, October 7, 2014
ZUKU REVEALS PAN AFRICAN AMBITIONS
Pay-TV Zuku is emerging as the darling of Private Equity companies who have pumped in Sh11.6billion (US$130million) for its expansion across the continent.
Holding group Wananchi which owns Zuku said it raised the money from leading international cable companies, Altice and Liberty Global as well as PE firms ECP (Emerging Capital Partners) and Helios.
Zuku is targeting high-density population areas with its fast growing triple play service with emerging urban centres like Kitengela in its sights.
It also seeks to expand in the region including Ethiopia and in West Africa.
The firm has become a major player in the fixed line business providing telephony and internet services as well as pay TV.
Communications Authority (CA) places Zuku first in fixed internet at 44.7%. Liquid Telecom (formely KDN) 17.8%, Telkom Kenya (11.6%), AccessKenya (11.5%) and Safaricom 7.1% follow.
The triple play service has proved popular where it is available although this is restricted to certain areas as the company seeks to expand coverage.
The convenience of getting cable TV but also internet service has seen the company grow to 200,000 subscribers by its own statement, in the region.
The company's TV bouquets carry all the local channels, documentary channels like NatGeo Gold, Discovery Science and Europe based Viasta Explore and Viasat Crime. It also has 5 sports channels including Zuku live sports, Zuku sports, two Fox sports channels (for those who watch the NFL) and a Eurosport channel.
A ruling earlier this year is supposed to see rival Dstv that holds exclusive rights to English Premier League ganes share these lucrative rights with the likes of Zuku and Star Times.
The new round of fundraising is an endorsement about the upside potential of the business given the shareholders are all experienced players in the TMT (Technology, Media and Telecommunications) space or in the African private equity space.
Liberty Global for example is the largest international cable company in the world. Altice SA is a multinational cable company present in France, Belgium, Israel, Luxembourg, Portugal, Switzerland and the French West Indies.
Helios Capital, an African focused PE fund has made some shrewd investments in Kenya most notably in Equity Bank where it holds 24.45% of the bank valued at Sh50billion. It's initial investment was Sh11billion in 2007.
It is injecting $40million (Sh3.6bn) into Wananchi Group as part of the Sh11.6bn the company has raised to fund the expansion of its cable footprint.