Following the sales approval of 9mobile- the third largest mobile network operator in Nigeria to Teleology Holdings Limited by both the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) since August this year, the acquisition process has finally completed, investigations by The Daily Times revealed.An inside source told us that the sale of 9mobile to Teleology was approved at cost not less than $500million.
The development has put to rest, one year of back and forth struggle, process of selecting a preferred bidder amidst a media war that raged between leading bidders.
The CBN and NCC had jointly, in their roles as regulators, opted for an innovative approach to deal with a distressed company – 9mobile operated by Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services Limited (EMTS) which its predecessor, Mubadala Group, Etisalat International brand pulled out of the country due to heavy debt.
Over 4000 employees were thrown into the labour market and almost disconnected 22 million subscribers.
In an effort to safe job and protect the 22 million subscribers on the network, the CBN and NCC jointly took over the running of the distressed network under a new name -9mobile and invited prospective buyers to bid.
Responding to our text message enquiry about the development, Acting Director, Regulatory & Corporate Affairs, 9mobile, Oluseyi Osunsedo, stated: “We will provide updates in due course.’
But efforts to reachout to NCC for comments proved abortive at press time as there was no response to a text message sent to the Media Management Unit, Public Affairs of the regulator.
Meanwhile, of the companies that indicated interest, five made it to an advanced stage. One pulled out of the acquisition bid, two were dropped for not including financial offers in their bids leaving Smile Telecoms and Teleology Holdings Limited, which made offers, as the last two standing.
Financial advisor to the transaction, Barclays Africa, after its analysis of the offers named Teleology as the preferred bidder.
By default, Smile became the reserve bidder, waiting in the wings to snatch 9Mobile where the preferred bidder is unable to meet up with its obligations for the phased payment.
But Teleology met the first timeline by paying the initial $50million deposit within the stipulated timeframe.
Industry watchers also suggested that Teleology Holdings, with its technical partner, is most qualified to takeover the telecoms firm.