Zimbabwean billionaire Strive Masiyiwa would be feeling nostalgic as he’s gunning for another important run at the stock market. This time around, the 58 year old telecom magnate is set to list Mascom Wireless, a Botswana telecom company he founded and later sold, on the stock market.
Mr Masiyiwa founded Mascom Wireless way back in 1998. In fact the name ‘Mascom’ is short for Masiyiwa Telecom. Mr Masiyiwa founded the company before he secured operating license to run Econet in Zimbabwe. But in 2004, he sold 14% of his stake in Mascom. And by 2005 he sold another 44% of his Mascom stakes to South African telecom holdings, MTN Group. At the time, the sale cost MTN $70 million.
Mr Masiyiwa completely divested from the company and kept Econet Group with 7% as a minority investor in the telecom company. While the remaining 40% is owned by Botswana Public Officers’ Pension Funds.
But in March 2019, Masiyiwa’s Econet Group announced it was increasing its stake in Mascom from 7% to 60%. The Zimbabwean company announced a $300 million deal to buy up MTN’s stake in the Botswana company.
Following the announcement of the deal, Econet is all set to list Mascom on the Botswana Stock Exchange.
The Econet CEO made a recent trip to Gaborone, Botswana and encouraged young people to invest during Mascom’s IPO. According to him, the company’s shares could trade for as low as $10 per share.
“I wanted to achieve something which I did in Zimbabwe, and sell shares to thousands of ordinary people [in Botswana]” Masiyiwa said. “For the last 21 years, I have been unable to fulfil this promise because my company did not control enough shares. Now I can keep that promise.
“As soon as we complete the acquisition of the MTN shares, I have already instructed our management to begin a sale process to ordinary Botswana citizens.”
With 1.7 million subscribers, Mascom Wireless controls over 50% of Botswana’s telecom market. In a country with a population of 2.3 million, the listing of Mascom would carry a lot of significance.
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