Webafrica has agreed to buy Mweb, one of South Africa’s largest and oldest internet service providers, from Dimension Data.
The deal is done and the parties are now awaiting the approval of the Competition Commission, which is expected to pronounce on it soon, possibly by 1 November.
Webafrica CEO Sean Nourse confirmed to TechCentral that the parties have signed the necessary paperwork and that the combination, if approved, will double the size of the company, adding more than 300 Mweb employees to its 350-strong workforce. No layoffs are anticipated.
Mweb, which is headed by Manelisa Mavuso, will continue to operate independently.
Nourse, who previously headed up Mweb for Dimension Data, moved to Webafrica three years ago, replacing Tim Wyatt-Gunning in the CEO role. It decided to put in an offer to buy Mweb after Dimension Data put the business up for sale.
He declined to say how many customers Mweb has on its books, but they number in the hundreds of thousands. A majority of these are on fibre, though the business still has a large legacy copper DSL base as well as customers on fixed-LTE services.
Dimension Data has been trying to sell the Mweb business since at least 2021.
Nourse declined to comment on the price Webafrica is paying for Mweb, but said the deal is being entirely funded through its own balance sheet.
Big Black Box
Mweb was founded in 1997 and is still remembered for its “Big Black Box” marketing campaign that enticed people to sign up for the internet – in those days, before Telkom launched DSL, it was dial-up only.
Internet Solutions (IS), part of Dimension Data, bought Mweb from Naspers in 2017. Mweb’s business customer base was then integrated into IS and does not form part of the transaction with Webafrica.
Dimension Data CEO Alan Turnley-Jones said the sale of Mweb is in line with the IT services group’s “strategy of focusing on core markets servicing the enterprise client base”.
“We are continually refining our portfolio of services to ensure relevance to our clients. Dimension Data is also on a journey to integrate with our global shareholder, NTT. The decision to sell Mweb will enable us to accelerate this journey and to focus on our core competencies, while leveraging NTT’s capability in platform delivered managed services,” he said in a statement issued to TechCentral.