Barely twenty-four hours after all hope of ever owning 9mobile seemed lost for Teleology Holdings, we can now confirm that the takeover timeline has been extended and will be finalised “as soon as possible”.
According to a press statement, the extended timeline was decided by 9mobile’s Board of Directors, out of consideration for all parties involved, particularly Teleology Holdings Limited who has overtime struggled to finalise takeover procedures for Nigeria’s fourth largest telco.
“The timeline extension was considered necessary to enable parties involved in the sale process to finalise the requisite transaction documentation to facilitate a smooth closure and transition to the new investor.” – 9mobile
Recall that earlier reports suggested that the final transaction for the takeover of 9mobile failed following the inability of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) and other stakeholders to reach a meaningful conclusion on the matter.
Yesterday, July 25, 2018, was meant to be the last of the 90-day period expected of Teleology Holdings to complete payment for the telco, but it failed. Apparently, the meeting held on Wednesday to determine the fate of the rather protracted transaction continued today (Thursday), even as the decision was reached to give Teleology more time to finalise the takeover bid.
A transaction beclouded by much drama and controversies
Earlier this year in February, Teleology Holdings emerged as the winner of a fiercely contested bidding exercise for 9mobile’s acquisition. The bidding exercise was supervised by Barclays Africa.
But ever since Teleology’s emergence as the winner, much drama and controversies have characterised its 9mobile acquisition bid. These controversies range from opposition posed by other bidders such as runner-up Smile Telecoms Holding Limited, to the alleged refusal of banks to lend Teleology the rest of the capital it needs to finalise the acquisition bid.
Despite these issues, Teleology Holdings was optimistic that the acquisition process would go on until finalised.
The background to the entire story
The problem with Etisalat Nigeria, now 9mobile, started last year after the telco default on a $1.2 billion loan it obtained from a consortium of 13 Nigerian banks led by GTBank. This caused the parent company (Etisalat of the United Arab Emirates) to pull out and relinquish its 45% stake in the company.
Following this development, the CBN restrained the Nigerian banks from taking over the telco. The CBN instead, constituted an interim board to oversee the operations of the company.
9mobile currently commands an estimated market share of 11.72% in the country.