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Vodacom Plans $1.3 Billion Stake Sale to Raise Black Ownership

Loni Prinsloo
Visitors exit via a walkway after visiting the Vodacom World mall, operated by Vodacom Group Ltd., in the Midrand district of Johannesburg, South Africa, on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. Vodacom, which is 65 percent owned by Newbury, England-based Vodafone and the South African market leader by subscriber numbers, is expanding its internet offering to offset falling voice revenue.

Vodacom Group Ltd. proposed raising the share of black shareholding in Africa’s largest wireless carrier by selling a stake of as much as 6.35 percent to investors including Royal Bafokeng Holdings, Thebe Investment Corp., YeboYethu Ltd. and company staff.

The 17.5 billion-rand ($1.3 billion) deal will help Vodacom comply with a government initiative to ensure that at least 20 percent of the company is owned by blacks. Vodacom’s existing empowerment deal is coming to an end on Oct. 8. As part of the deal, current black shareholders will swap their shareholding in the South African unit of Vodacom for a stake in the total group.

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“Our black shareholders wanted exposure not only to have exposure to the South African operations, but also to our international operations,” Chief Executive Office Shameel Joosub said on a conference call on Monday. “By black shareholders holding a stake in the larger group it will also provide better pricing transparency.”

Shareholders will have to approve the transaction, the company said. The final pricing of the deal will be confirmed in early July and the sale will take place in September, Vodacom said.

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