Blue Label a big step closer to control of Cell C

Blue Label Telecoms has received approval from the Competition Commission to take control of mobile operator Cell C.

Previously, Blue Label — through its wholly owned subsidiary, The Prepaid Company (TPC) — held less than 50% of South Africa’s third-to-be-licensed mobile operator.

Conditions have been attached to the deal’s approval.

“The commission has recommended that the Competition Tribunal approves the merger subject to conditions to mitigate information exchange concerns, and conditions ensuring the continued use of certain prepaid airtime distribution channels for a period, post-merger,” the regulator said in a statement on Tuesday, without elaborating.

Blue Label, through TPC, has also filed an application with communications regulator Icasa for approval to transfer Cell C’s spectrum licences to TPC.

Currently Blue Label has a non-controlling 49.5% stake in Cell C, and it plans to acquire a further 4.04% stake in the business to take its stake to 53.5%.

New investor?

TechCentral first reported in August 2023 that Blue Label had agreed to acquire control of the telecoms operator.

“Cell C will still retain full control of its spectrum in this operating model and will continue to operate as a licensee providing mobile services to its customer base as a mobile network operator,” Cell C said in a statement in December.

Last September, Levy said Blue Label was also keen to bring in a new strategic investor into Cell C.

Blue Label seeks new strategic investor for Cell C

“Cell C will have a ‘big brother’. Whoever that may be, that is coming – another investor, for sure,” he said in an interview on the TechCentral Show.

“It will be a value-adding investor. It will not be a money person; it will be someone who adds value in strategy. It could be a bank or a retailer or another network, but it will be a strategic partner. And I don’t see that in five years, I see that in the next two to three years.”  — © 2024 NewsCentral Media

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