10 May Nigeria: Controversy over Teleology’s 9mobile deal
While the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has confirmed a US$50 million deposit paid by 9mobile’s preferred bidder Teleology, the regulator is yet to pronounce the company as the new owner.
ITWeb Africa reported that Teleology paid a non-refundable deposit for 9mobile and was given 90 days to pay the balance. However, local media reports suggest Teleology’s initial bid was not US$500 million as widely reported, but US$301 million – just US$1 million above the bid by Smile Telecoms for 9mobile.
This has heightened ongoing speculation and media reports that several local stakeholders have a vested interest in ensuring that 9mobile is sold to Smile Telecoms and not Teleology.
In April, Nigerian lawmakers threatened to stop the sale of 9mobile to Teleology following an initial submission by Prof. Umar Danbatta, NCC’s Executive Vice-chairman, and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that they were not aware of the payment made by Teleology.
The preferred bidder then threatened legal action but withdrew this after the NCC confirmed the payment.
Justice BintaNyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has since ruled that the sale of 9mobile (formerly Etisalat Nigeria) should be halted following the request of specific shareholders
The ruling effectively suspends all ongoing processes regarding the sale and the NCC has not issued a formal statement.
The regulator has previously stated that its approval of the Teleology/ 9mobile transaction hinges on the demonstration of technical competence by the prospective new owners.
Danbatta said, “Once the Central Bank of Nigeria has done the financial evaluation of the bidder, NCC will also examine the technical capacity of the preferred bidder.”
He also suggested Etisalat Nigeria’s operating license could not be transferred and the new owners would have to apply for a new license.
Source: IT Web Africa