After watching Blue Label Telecoms’ share price slide into the abyss, co-CEO Brett Levy protested in August that the sell-off was way overdone and the market was being "impatient" about Cell C’s turnaround. But that did little to appease investors, who were already jittery after Steinhoff’s corporate meltdown. Since Levy’s impassioned plea to the market, Blue Label’s stock has slipped even further as some foreign investors — most notably a Nordic sovereign fund — sold down. In the market’s eyes, the group bit off far more than it could chew when it paid R5.5bn for a 45% stake in Cell C, the heavily indebted mobile operator that was on the brink at the time of the "recapitalisation" deal in August last year. Despite writing off more than R30bn in loans due to various banks, vendors and bondholders, Cell C still has too much debt for many investors, who also worry that making a success of it as the No 3 operator — behind Vodacom and MTN — is no easy task. Blue Label’s shares — which m...

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