Just after about a year of growing uncertainties and a back and forth struggle surrounding the sale of Nigeria’s 3rd largest telco, 9mobile, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has reportedly approved of its sale to preferred bidder, Teleology Holdings Limited.
This, according to DailyTimes, was confirmed by a close source to the regulatory body and is said to have been approved at a cost of $500 million. Teleology, who was chosen as the preferred bidder for the acquisition of 9mobile ahead of reserve bidder, Smile communications, sometime in February had later in July completed the payment of its bid of $301 million for the sale.
This payment, which exceeds its acquisition cost, is said to be inclusive of the amount needed for the telcos network expansion project, which includes the acquisition of “over 5,000 additional base stations and a bullish acquisition of other fringe players in the telecoms sector to add to the 9mobile brand household.”
What Caused the Delay?
Even with this payment being made, the handover of 9Mobile to Teleology had been entangled in several claims and counter-charges as there was contention over its structure, financial capability to successfully run one of the largest mobile networks in Nigeria.
Some of these issues involved: a lawsuit from the existing Etisalat (now 9mobile) shareholders over a demand for repayment of their existing investments, Denial from CBN and NCC on the payment of Teleology’s $50 million non-refundable fee as well as government bureaucracy.
New post: Teleology Triggers 20-Day Extension Clause to Complete its 9mobile Deal, to Pay Extra $50 Million https://t.co/3wRqHI7hNT
— TechNext.ng (@technextdotng) July 2, 2018
One other major hurdle was the NCC guidelines that questioned the technical capability of Teleology Holdings to run the telco resulting in regulator’s delay in issuing approval letter of ‘No Objection’.
Although Prof. Umar Danbatta, NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman, explained that the delay in the conclusion of the sales of 9mobile was as a result of 9mobile’s debt to the commission. This was about N15 billion of debt in Annual Operating Level (AOL), fees and numbering fees and that 9mobile had paid about N7 billion out of it as a commitment.
With this acquisition finally done with, it is believed that it would add great value to the Nigerian telecoms industry.
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