Blue Label’s Cell C acquisition deal ‘on track’

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

Johannesburg - Blue Label Telecoms [JSE:BLU] has said that plans to acquire 35% of Cell C for R4bn as part of a recapitalisation plan are still “on track”.

In December last year, the boards of Cell C and its holding company 3C Telecommunications accepted an offer from Blue Label Telecoms for the deal.

The deal is expected to involve Cell C management and staff holding about 30% of the mobile network's shares, with 3C Telecommunications holding about 35%.

As a result, Cell C's major stakeholder, Dubai-based Oger Telecom, is set to decrease its stake in the South African mobile network.

The companies last year also said that they expected the deal to be completed by June 1 2016.

With that date having passed, Blue Label Telecoms has kept tight-lipped about further developments on the matter.

But the company has indicated that the deal is still progressing.

“As far as we are concerned everything is on track," joint CEO of Blue Label Telecoms, Mark Levy, told Fin24.

"It’s a massive transaction from a Blue Label perspective, so we'll ensure that all the i’s are dotted and all the t’s are crossed before we cross over.

“There are no issues from either side; it’s just a big transaction. It takes time and it takes discipline to ensure that everything is done 100% correctly,” Levy said.

Cell C’s Executive Head of Communications, Karin Fourie, told Fin24 on Wednesday that “negotiations are ongoing” regarding the deal.

Blue Label Telecoms' bid for Cell C may not be all plain sailing though.

In March this year, Cell C’s black empowerment partner CellSAf filed papers in the South Gauteng Court in a bid to start a liquidation process of 3C Telecommunications.

CellSAf has accused 3C Telecommunications of being insolvent.

From voucher distributor to mobile player

Blue Label Telecoms' plan to become a mobile network player comes after the company was founded 15 years ago by brothers Mark and Brett Levy.

The brothers grew the company by specialising in the distribution of prepaid airtime, starter packs and electricity vouchers.

Meanwhile, Blue Label Telecoms has also inked the extension of its partnership with the SA Rugby Union (Saru) for the rest of 2016. The partnership includes branding on jerseys and on and off-field areas at home matches.

This week, Blue Label Telecoms issued a trading statement advising shareholders that its headline and core headline earnings per share for the year ended May 31 2016 is expected to increase by more than 20% compared to the previous period.

Blue Label Telecoms is set to release its full-year results on Wednesday, August 24.
Source: Fin24 18 August 2016