Vo­da­com stake for sale to black in­vestors

CityPress - - Business -

A stake in Vo­da­com is back up for sale fol­low­ing the col­lapse of a pre­vi­ous deal in May that was aimed at in­creas­ing black own­er­ship of the cel­lu­lar op­er­a­tor.

The Vo­da­com stock be­ing sold by the Pub­lic In­vest­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (PIC) is val­ued at about R6 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the ne­go­ti­a­tions, who asked not to be iden­ti­fied. That equates to about 2.6% of Vo­da­com.

The PIC is in talks with a num­ber of black in­vestors, ac­cord­ing to CEO Dan Matjila, who de­clined to dis­cuss the de­tails. No favourite had emerged, and a deal struc­ture had not yet been de­cided, Matjila said. One of the groups in­cluded Vo­da­com chair­per­son Peter Moyo, said one of the peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the talks.

An in­crease in black own­er­ship would help Vo­da­com meet govern­ment reg­u­la­tions that are part of the coun­try’s ef­fort to com­pen­sate those dis­crim­i­nated against dur­ing apartheid. Cur­rently, 18.7% of Vo­da­com is owned by black in­vestors, com­pared with 39% for ri­val MTN. A 30% black-own­er­ship min­i­mum was a con­di­tion in a South African broad­band spec­trum auc­tion that was de­layed in Septem­ber, though those re­quire­ments are cur­rently in flux.

The Vo­da­com suit­ors in­clude NMT Cap­i­tal, a firm co-founded by Moyo, along with ex­ec­u­tives Sango Nt­saluba and Thabiso Tle­lai.

To ad­dress po­ten­tial gov­er­nance is­sues re­lat­ing to Moyo’s in­volve­ment, NMT would take part in a big­ger con­sor­tium that would not be led by Moyo, said Nt­saluba.

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