The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday said Teleology Holdings has just 90 days to pay $450 million to complete its acquisition of 9mobile, Nigeria’s fourth largest telecoms operators or risk losing the opportunity to a reserve bidder.
It said 9mobile would be transferred to Teleology after the payment of $450 million, adding however that reserve bidder Smile Communications could be considered if Teleology failed to complete the payment in time. 9mobile, formerly Etisalat Nigeria, is Nigeria’s fourth largest telecoms provider which took out a $1.2 billion syndicated loan from 13 local banks in 2013 but failed to make repayments last year. Under the stewardship of its lenders, it has changed its board, management and corporate identity and is now up for sale.
Investment holding company Teleology said last month it had made a $50 million deposit to meet conditions for the acquisition and had partnered with East Africa’s largest telecoms operator Safaricom to transform debt-laden 9mobile.
Teleology, which was set up by 12 telecoms industry veterans led by ex-MTN Nigeria executive Adrian Wood, was picked as the preferred bidder for debt-laden 9mobile, following a bid process arranged by Barclays Africa.