Investment firm Teleology Holdings has reportedly won the bidding for Nigeria’s beleaguered operator 9mobile with an offer of roughly $500 million.
The company was joined on the shortlist by operators Smile and Globacom and investment firm Helios Investment Partners. Smile put in a bid of $300 million while the latter two made offers that did not feature a financial commitment.
Sale supervisor Barclays Africa selected Teleology as the highest bidder, with Smile reportedly the reserve bidder. The two firms now have 30 days to demonstrate that they have the requisite finances available to make good on their bids.
Until last week, Airtel Nigeria was on the shortlist of bidders, but the operator abandoned its bid citing concerns that “too many things are hidden about the health of 9mobile”. Formerly Etisalat Nigeria, 9mobile was forced to rebrand when it lost the backing of its Middle Eastern parent firm after falling behind on repayments for a $1.2 billion loan. These events led to the unit being put up for sale.
A Lagos high court recently ruled that the board 9mobile’s parent Emerging Markets Telecommunications Service should be split up. However, the decision is being appealed y United Capital Trustees – the firm tasked with overseeing the sale of 9mobile by the consortium of banks that provided its $1.2B loan. This means that the sale of the unit can continue as planned.