Vodacom Considering Broadband Infraco Acquisition

South African operator Vodacom is considering acquiring state-owned fibre-optic infrastructure company Broadband Infraco.

The development comes following a lapsed attempt to acquire Neotel earlier this year. Vodacom entered into exclusive talks with Neotel regarding an acquisition in 2013, and in 2014 agreed to acquire a 100% stake in Neotel for ZAR 7 billion (around $398m).

However, the proposed acquisition met with opposition from rival telecoms operators, despite the deal receiving approval from regulator ICASA. Last month, Vodacom walked away from the deal, citing “regulatory complexities and certain conditions not being fulfilled”.

Vodacom says that when its Neotel plans lapsed last month, the company remained committed to increasing the rollout of fibre-based broadband services to its customers, and as such it continues to look for opportunities to accelerate its fixed line business.

“Acquiring an asset like Broadband Infraco would help achieve this and would be supportive of Government’s Broadband 2020 vision of universal broadband access by local households,” Shameel Joosub, chief executive officer (CEO) of Vodacom says.

“A transparent, fair and open process is the best way to determine Broadband Infraco’s value. As we have said previously, Vodacom fully supports any position that promotes a transparent, fair and competitive process on the Broadband Infraco matter. We believe that this approach would be in the best interests of the sustainability of the industry,” Joosub says.

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