Globacom, Nigeria’s second-largest telecommunications network, may not be able to acquire 9Mobile as widely reported in the media, Nigeria’s burgeoning online integrated media platform, ALEDEH can authoritatively report.
9Mobile, formerly known as Etisalat Nigeria was taken over in July 2017 following N541 billion debt overhang.
Mubadala Group, the major investor from the United Arab Emirates, pulled out of Emerging Markets Telecommunications Service (EMTS), the fourth largest telecommunications service operator in Nigeria as a result of the debt owed to a consortium of thirteen (13) banks.
The United Arab Emirates investor insisted that the brand name is dropped, leading to the birth of 9mobile July 13, 2017.
However, months after the rebranding process of the nation’s second-largest mobile network, the telco is now up for sale, with five bidders making the final list of potential buyers.
The shortlist includes Teleology Holdings Limited, promoted by Adrian Wood, the pioneering CEO of MTN Nigeria; Smile Telecoms Holdings, a telco operating in Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Congo DR and South Africa; and Helios Investment Partners LLP, an investment company.
Others are Bharti Airtel, an Indian telco that owns Airtel Nigeria, and Globacom, the Nigerian company owned by Mike Adenuga Jnr.
Globacom issued a statement January 12, 2018, saying it has not acquired 9mobile. The telco said it is bound by the terms of the acquisition process and it will not deviate from the rules.
“Globacom has not acquired 9Mobile as widely reported in the media. We are bound by the terms of the acquisition process as stipulated by the authorities handling it and we will not in any way sway or deviate from the rules.
“We repose confidence in Barclays Africa, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) which are handling the process that will lead to the emergence of a new owner for the company,” the statement read.
Though the company has shown interest in acquiring 9Mobile, ALEDEH can report that Nigeria’s second-largest telecommunications network is far from becoming the latest owner of 9Mobile.
ALEDEH gathered that the telco has some outstanding fees with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
Globacom has not paid renewal of its spectrum license which is a total of $282 million for another ten (10) years.
Similarly, the company is also owing N1.499 billion in microwave fees after the expiration of the initial term last year, ALEDEH gathered.
Meanwhile, for the sale of 9Mobile to see the light of the day, January 12, 2018, judgment of a federal high court sitting in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria must be appealed.
On Friday, January 12, a federal high court sitting in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria, nullified an ex parte order which it granted in July 2017 which had given legal backing to the interim board set up by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to manage the transition of the telecommunications company following a debt crisis.
The nullification follows dismissal by Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court, the Preliminary Objection filed by United Capital Trustees Ltd in response to the application by Spectrum Wireless, a shareholder of EMTS, for a nullification of the Ex Parte Order of the court, which it claimed was obtained by misrepresentation of facts that alienated its interests in the company.
On Sunday, January 14, Spectrum Wireless, a shareholder of Emerging Markets Telecommunications Service (EMTS) which owns 9mobile licence, warned buyers not to acquire the telecommunications company.
J.A. Achimugu & Co, Solicitor to Spectrum Wireless Communication Limited, issued “Beware Notice” to buyers, stressing that “any institution or company who transacts business for the purpose of sale or acquisition of EMTS or 9Mobile does so at his or her own risk”.