…Excitements as operators laud exercise
Teleology Holdings Limited, the preferred bidder for the acquisition of one of the leading telecommunication firms, 9mobile, has beaten deadline for ownership of the firm with the payment of $251million into Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) escrow account, pending receipt of ‘‘no objection from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).’’
A source close to Teleology disclosed this development to The Daily Times on Sunday night.
The source added that the buyer is committed to playing its part in the telecoms industry.
He said, ‘‘I can confirm to you that the money ($251m) has been paid into CBN escrow account pending the regulatory body’s response to the payment.
“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 money coming will include the cost of over 5,000 additional base stations and a bullish acquisition of other fringe players in the telecoms sector to add to the 9mobile brand household.
‘‘This feat by Teleology is a highly commendable feat that will add a great deal of value to the Nigerian telecoms industry.
Teleology had earlier communicated its commitment to the payment of the final bid price to the apex bank days ahead of the expiration of the 90-day payment timeline, which elapsed on Saturday, June 30.
Besides, it requested a 20 working days’ extension from the CBN “to enable it perfect the process for the final payout in consonance with the provision of the acquisition agreement.”
In this vein, the NCC granted the request by Teleology for the extension but with a proviso that it must pay additional non-refundable $50million to further strengthen its stake in the acquisition bid for 9mobile.
The Daily Times recalls that Teleology had on March 21 paid the initial $50 million non-refundable deposit as a demonstration of its commitment to acquire 9mobile and was given a 90-day timeline to pay the balance having emerged the preferred bidder following the evaluation of the technical and financial bids for the telecom company.
The process for the acquisition of 9mobile commenced in October 2017, and Smile Communications emerged as the reserved bidder.
9mobile is currently being supervised by Barclays Africa, the transaction adviser appointed by CBN, NCC and a consortium of 13 banks with a view to getting new investors inject fresh capital into the telecom firm.
The bid for the sale of 9mobile equities followed disagreement between Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services Limited (EMTS), formerly trading as Etisalat Nigeria, and the banks to restructure the repayment of a seven-year mid-term facility secured by the telecom firm to service an existing loan and expand its network in 2013.
Teleology Holdings Limited is a private equity firm run by a former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MTN Nigeria, Mr Adrian Wood. The company is a special purpose vehicle set up by Wood and some influential Nigerian investors to acquire the troubled 9Mobile.
Bloomberg lists it as a private equity firm, but the value of the investment portfolio is not stated. Some reports estimated the value at $11billion.