Friday, 27 April 2018

9mobile buyer pays up

By Mary Lennighan, for Total Telecom
Thursday 22 March 18

Nigerian mobile operator looks set to get new owner as Teleology Holdings pays deposit

Teleology Holdings, the preferred bidder for Nigeria's 9mobile has paid a US$50 million deposit for the company a day ahead of deadline, pushing the deal a step closer to completion. The investment firm is expected to pay the balance of the agreed $500 million purchase price in the next 90 days and thereby take control of the mobile operator…

Teleology Holdings, the preferred bidder for Nigeria's 9mobile has paid a US$50 million deposit for the company a day ahead of deadline, pushing the deal a step closer to completion.

The investment firm is expected to pay the balance of the agreed $500 million purchase price in the next 90 days and thereby take control of the mobile operator, Nigerian news outlet This Day reported on Thursday.

9mobile attracted 16 suitors when it went up for sale last year, with a short list of 10 emerging in November. The list included big names in the telco space, such as domestic rivals Globacom and Airtel Nigeria, South Africa-based Smile Telecom Holdings, Africell Holdings, and Helios Towers.

According to Reuters, five would-be buyers were still in the running when Teleology, which is led by former MTN Nigeria CEO Adrian Wood, was named as the preferred bidder late last month, with only two submitting financial bids.

Smile Telecoms was appointed as reserve bidder should a deal with Teleology fail to materialise. Local press reports in recent weeks have suggested that the issue of restructuring 9mobile's debt could prove to be a stumbling block for the deal.

9mobile was known as Etisalat Nigeria until July last year but took on its new identity after former parent Etisalat missed a $1.2 billion loan repayment deadline and forfeited its stake in the company. Control of the company passed to its lenders, who brought in a new management team with a view to turning around its fortunes.

9mobile had an 11.5% share of the Nigerian mobile market a year ago, according to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), which has yet to release any more up to date figures. That puts it in a distant fourth place behind market leader MTN, which serves 36.4% of subscribers, and number two and three operators Airtel and Globacom, which both had shares of just over 26% at the same date.
 
 

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