The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has ordered a second round of due diligence to be conducted on Teleology Holdings - the preferred bidder for 9mobile - before it approves the deal.
While this announcement represents a further delay to the deal, Teleology’s acquisition could face a bigger issue, with local paper The Nation reporting that six existing stakeholders in 9mobile have demanded that the sale be halted until they receive due payments totalling $43 million.
The Premium Times, which reported on the NCC’s due diligence decision, also noted that Teleology has not yet paid the balance on its winning bid for 9mobile. After winning its bid in January, Teleology paid a $50 million deposit in March to secure the deal but missed its July deadline to pay off the remainder. This could see 9mobile handed over to the reserve bidder, Smile Communications.
The sale of 9mobile has been plagued by difficulties. The former Etisalat unit became available for purchase after losing the backing of both its UAE-based operator parent and the investment fund Mubadala, both of which exited the Nigerian market following unsuccessful attempts at obtaining more favourable terms on a $1.2 billion loan. Following this, Etisalat Nigeria was handed over to trustees while its creditors looked for buyers.