(Refiles to add dropped word "million" in the headline)
JOHANNESBURG Oct 5 South African distributor of
prepaid airtime Blue Label Telecoms will pay 5.5 billion rand
($400 million) for a 45 percent stake in debt-laden mobile phone
group Cell C Ltd, it said on Wednesday.
The deal is part of Cell C's efforts to pay down debts which
last year forced it into a restructuring with bondholders
involving a three-year maturity extension to July 2018.
Following Blue Label's deal, Cell C will also issue new
shares to staff, senior management and existing shareholders to
help to reduce it borrowings to a maximum of 8 billion rand,
Blue Label said.
Founded in 2001 by Saudi Arabia's Oger Telecom, Cell C has
struggled to compete against established players Vodacom
and MTN Group.
($1 = 13.7580 rand)
(Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng. Editing by Jane Merriman)