9mobile’s much-delayed sale to Teleology Holdings has received definitive clearance from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Central Bank of Nigeria.
The $500 million acquisition has been plagued by roadblocks, with the latest setback occurring earlier this month when the NCC ordered a new round of due diligence to be conducted on Teleology. At the same time, local paper The Nation reported that six stakeholders in the unit were demanding that the sale be halted until they received due payments of $43 million.
Nigerian paper The Daily Times quoted an anonymous source as saying: “What Teleology has raised offshore exceeds the initial acquisition cost. It is inclusive of the amount needed for an audacious network expansion project for 9mobile. I can confirm this will change the telecoms landscape significantly.”
The same source noted that Teleology could acquire “other fringe players in the telecoms sector to add to the 9mobile brand household,” and noted that the firm was aiming to roll out 5,000 new base stations.
9mobile’s sale has been characterised by delays and problems. Formerly Etisalat Nigeria, the unit was put up for sale after it lost the backing of both its UAE-based operator parent and the investment fund Mubadala, both of which exited the Nigerian market in June 2017 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.