Confirmed: Blue Label Telecoms inks deal with mobile startup Panacea

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Panacea

Ventureburn can confirm that prepaid and mobile payment company Blue Label Telecoms quietly acquired a major stake in Bulk SMS startup Panacea Mobile in late 2012.

The South African-based Blue Label Telecoms, which also has footprints in emerging market countries like India and Mexico, had apparently been working with Panacea for some time.

According to Panacea co-founder and CEO Stefano Sessa, both companies realised that an acquisition would be beneficial after working together for nearly a year and a half. “The business was acquired because of both businesses sharing a similar growth strategy,” he told Ventureburn.

Sessa also confirmed that the deal “was a pretty straight forward buy-out” with Blue Label Telecoms acquiring 50% +1 share of Panacea. Control of business and its direction meanwhile apparently remains in the hands of Panacea’s board and management. He could not however confirm how much the deal was worth.

Panacea will also retain control of its technology. Sessa notes however that the aligned interests of the two companies mean that Panacea will be able to assist BLT by granting it access to the technology, and BLT will assist Panacea by using it. “It’s a win-win, and I do not believe there will be any issues around control,” he said.

He added that the two companies were partners and whatever they did in the future “would be in the interest of all the shareholders”.

When asked about the possibility of future investments Sessa said “there is no specific need for investment” at this point in time. “If the time comes and our business strategy requires investment to achieve its objectives, then we would obviously consider the options.”

“Things change so quickly in a growing business, and especially when your expansion strategy is as aggressive as ours, that to rule out an additional investment would be a little short-sighted,” he said.

For now, there are no thoughts of a total buyout, although Sessa reckons that no founder would ever turn down one given the right price at the right time. “For now,” he said “Panacea is growing, and we are having fun making it grow even faster. We have achieved a lot as a team, and we enjoy doing so”.

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