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Acquisition of stake in Cell C still on

Business Report
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File picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/Independent Media
Johannesburg - Net1 ueps Technologies reiterated on Thursday that it will continue to pursue its acquisition of a 15 percent stake of Cell C for a cash consideration of R2 billion, but now through surplus cash and debt.

Net1 was a party to the umbrella restructure agreement with Cell C in which it was going to buy a 15 percent stake in Blue Label Telecoms worth R2bn, while in turn, Blue Label was to buy a 45 percent stake in Cell C for R5.5bn. 

The sale of stakes in Cell C is part of efforts to slash the mobile operator’s debts from R20bn to R6bn. But Blue Label and Net1’s subsidiary, Net1 Applied Technologies South Africa, have since mutually agreed that Net1 SA would not buy shares in Blue Label and that agreement has therefore been terminated. 

Net1 said it has also been released from its R2bn guarantee that was issued by FirstRand Bank, acting through its Rand Merchant Bank division, in favour of Blue Label. 

Another strategic acquisition in Net1’s eyesight is that of a 49.6percent stake of DNI-4PL Contracts, a distributor of Cell C’s mobile user starter-packs and prepaid airtime through a network of field operatives and agents. 

Net1 said it had concluded a memorandum of understanding to buy DNI-4PL Contracts stake. This would be in addition to the 15percent stake at Cell C. 

“The company continues to make substantial progress toward finalising terms to acquire a non-controlling interest in DNI-4PL Contracts, with an option to acquire a controlling stake in DNI in the future,” Net1 said. Net1 is currently at the centre of the controversy around the distribution welfare grants payments. 

Auditing firm KPMG revealed that Net1 made R1bn in profit from its unlawful contract with the South Africa Social Security Agency over a period of five years. 

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE 
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