Indications have emerged that Teleology Holdings Limited may have been finally selected as the preferred bidder for 9Mobile, formerly Etisalat Nigeria, the country’s fourth-largest mobile network.
This development may have brought to an end the acquisition process supervised by Barclays Africa, the transaction advisors.
Promoted by Adrian Wood, the pioneer chief executive officer of MTN Nigeria, Teleology emerged as the new owner of 9mobile ahead of Smile, which had been the only other bidder in the final round of the takeover bid.
Though over 10 bidders had indicated interest in acquiring the mobile network, only five were shortlisted before the number was further reduced to three.
While Globacom and Helios failed to back their technical bids with concrete financial bids, Airtel later pulled out of the process, leaving just Teleology and Smile Communications.
Teleology, a private equity firm with an investment portfolio of $11 billion, offered more than $500 million to acquire the mobile network while Smile offered about $300 million.
Industry sources said Airtel developed cold feet over insuniations that whoever takes over 9Mobile may be face mounting debt.
Meanwhile, the telecommunications industry awaits the an official statement on the development by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on the future direction of the network and the legal crisis that has engulfed the process of sale which resulted in the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos on January 12, 2018, sacking the interim board of 9Mobile appointed CBN.
Spectrum Wireless Limited, on behalf of three other shareholders of Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services (EMTS) successfully appealed against the injunction granted to United Capital Ltd on behalf of the lender banks which allowed it to proceed to sale 9Mobile to new investors in other to recoup the remainder of the $1.2 billion loan owed banks.
United Capital had left out the other minority shareholders following the withdrawal of Etisalat International and Mubadala Group from the board of Etisalat Nigeria. The Federal High frowned at the omission of the other shareholders and thereafter struck out the United Capital injunction thereby rendering null and void the constituion of the Interim Board of 9Mobile.