Telkom South Africa has expressed a renewed interest in acquiring its beleaguered rival Cell C.
Bloomberg reported that Cell C is currently holding talks with MTN over a possible takeover – an idea mooted in October this year after the South African operator’s local CEO Godfrey Motsa claimed that Cell C’s collapse posed a threat to country’s economy.
However, Cell C could equally pursue a buyout by Buffet Consortium, which became a minority shareholder in Cell C this year after it obtained a stake from Blue Label Telecoms. The operator also reportedly came close to agreeing a deal with China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile provider.
Telkom’s bid is therefore not assured, and while it confirmed to Bloomberg that it is holding talks regarding an acquisition, it did not name the other company. Nonetheless, the agency reported that Telkom’s plan was to assume full control of Cell C and begin paying down the operator’s ZAR9 billion ($607 million) debt.
Cell C did not mention Telkom when speaking to Bloomberg, merely saying that it was “implementing a revised network strategy and improving overall liquidity”. However, it did note that “long-term viability” would be a factor in its decision.