JOHANNESBURG, March 1 (Reuters) - Net1 UEPS Technologies will pay 2 billion rand ($150 million) for a 15 percent stake in South Africa’s Cell C, it said on Wednesday.
The deal is part of Cell C’s efforts to pay down debts which have previously forced South Africa’s third-largest mobile network provider into a distressed restructuring with bondholders involving maturity extensions.
Net1, a payment solutions company with extensive operations in emerging markets, is part of a group of companies led by Blue Label Telecoms working to slash Cell C’s debt load to at least 6 billion rand from around 20 billion rand.
Blue Label Telecoms, an airtime distributor, said last year it would pay 5.5 billion rand for a 45 percent holding in Cell C, a company founded in 2001 by Saudi Arabia’s Oger Telecom and former director Zwelakhe Mankazana.
Cell C will also sell shares to staff, senior management and existing shareholders: Oger Telecom and CellSaf as part the cash injection.
Net1 also said it would buy a 49.6 percent stake in DNI-4PL Contracts, a distributer of Cell C’s mobile user starter packs and prepaid airtime. It has an option to buy a controlling stake in the company.
$1 = 13.0700 rand Reporting by TJ Strydom and Tiisetso Motsoeneng; Editing by Mark Potter