PREPAID technology specialist Blue Label Telecoms, which services mainly the mobile phone and prepaid electricity segments, surprised the market with an intriguing twist to its proposed acquisition of a strategic stake in Cell C, SA’s third-biggest cellular services operator. Although a possible transaction was first made public at the end of 2015, a finalisation announcement on Wednesday made provision for Blue Label to secure a markedly bigger strategic stake in debt-laden Cell C and for the introduction of payment solutions technology company Net1 UEPS as a significant minority shareholder in Blue Label. The deal could be a game changer in the mobile phone market, but Lentus Asset Management chief investment officer Nic Norman-Smith said there would inevitably be questions around whether buying the smallest cellular operation in SA would give Blue Label the desired operational leverage. Blue Label joint CEO Brett Levy stressed the company was confident the Cell C transaction woul...

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