Telkom has confirmed one of the telecommunications industry’s worst-kept secrets: that it is in talks to buy Cell C.
“Telkom is currently performing a due diligence on Cell C,” the company said in a statement to shareholders issued before markets opened on Monday morning.
It’s the second time it’s issued a cautionary notice to shareholders to advise them that it is in talks about a potential deal, but the first time it has confirmed that those talks are about Cell C. The first notice was published on 28 September.
“Shareholders are advised to continue exercising caution when dealing in Telkom securities until a further announcement is made in this regard.”
It has been reported, however, that Telkom and Oger Telecom, Cell C’s controlling shareholder, have not been able to reach agreement on a value for South Africa’s third mobile operator.
Telkom’s interest in Cell C comes after the competition authorities torpedoed a plan to reach a wide-ranging deal with MTN that would involve it outsourcing management of its radio access network to its mobile rival.
Telkom, which built its own mobile network after disposing of its stake in Vodacom seven years ago, has struggled to gain traction in a market dominated by Vodacom and MTN. Most estimates puts its market share at less than 2%. An acquisition of Cell C would allow it to challenge MTN for second place behind Vodacom. — (c) 2015 NewsCentral Media