Telkom’s R14bn offer for Cell C ‘rejected’

Cell C's head office in Johannesburg. (Gareth van Zyl)
Cell C's head office in Johannesburg. (Gareth van Zyl)

Johannesburg - Oger Telecom has rejected a R14bn ($1 billion) offer from Africa’s largest fixed-line operator, Telkom, for its 75% stake in South African wireless carrier Cell C, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Telkom is now conducting due diligence on whether to make a renewed offer for Dubai-based Oger’s stake in South Africa’s third-largest mobile-phone company, said the person, who asked not to be identified as the matter is private.

Oger, which is seeking as much as R22bn for closely held Cell C, has set a late November deadline for a new offer, according to the person.

Oger’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer Mazen Abou Chakra declined to comment. Telkom spokesperson Jacqui O’Sullivan said the company would share “any relevant information" when required to do so.

Telkom shares fell as much as 2.4% and traded 0.9% lower at R70.56 as of 17:00 in Johannesburg, valuing the company at R37bn. Cell C is closely held.

Telkom operates South Africa’s fourth-biggest mobile-phone provider and is seeking to grow the business to help offset declining sales at its larger fixed-line unit. The Pretoria- based company is prepared to pay no more than R18bn for the business, which has R14bn of debt, people familiar with the matter said last month.

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