Update: Cell C doesn’t need to raise $600m
- Cell C no longer needs to issue a bond to raise money, which would have trimmed its borrowings to R8 billion, its future 45 percent parent says.
In early October, Blue Label Telecoms said it would pay R5.5 billion for a 45 percent stake in debt-laden Cell C. 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.
As part of the deal, Cell C was going to raise $600 million on the international bond market.
Blue Label will meet on November 16 to vote on the deal. On October 10, it issued a circular to shareholders detailing the offer in detail.
Cell C’s need to raise a bond was a condition that needed to be concluded before the deal could go ahead. However, Cell C has advised Blue Label that it can meet its maximum net borrowings ratio without having to place the bond, and - as a result - has withdrawn it.
Cell C, founded in 2001 by Saudi Arabia's Oger Telecom, has struggled to compete against established players Vodacom and MTN Group. It will also, post the deal, issue new shares to staff, senior management and existing shareholders.
Blue Label is partially funding the deal through a share issue of R2 billion to dual-listed Net 1, which will then own 15 percent of Blue Label. The companies see many commonalties that they can leverage for future growth, especially in the mobile payments space.