Indications have emerged that Teleology Holdings Limited, the preferred bidder for the acquisition of telecommunication company, 9mobile, may have put the final seal on its move to take over as the new owner of the company.
According to a competent source close to Barclays Africa who is in the know of the process for the acquisition of the telco, Teleology reportedly communicated its commitment to the payment of the final bid price to the apex bank days ahead of the expiration of the 90-day payment timeline, which lapses on Saturday, June 30. The source said the preferred bidder had however requested 20 working days’ extension from the CBN “to enable it perfect the process for the final payout in consonance with the provision of the acquisition agreement.”
A CBN source told NAN that the firm is in order in triggering the 20-day extension as it is contained in the agreement. The source added that the regulator had granted the request by Teleology for the extension but with a proviso that it must pay additional non-refundable $50 million to further strengthen its stake in the acquisition bid for 9mobile. An NCC source confirmed that Teleology is indeed raising a financial war-chest that is beyond the cost needed for the settlement of the acquisition.
“What Teleology has raised offshore exceeds the initial acquisition cost. It is inclusive of the amount needed for an audacious network expansion project for 9mobile. I can confirm this will change the telecoms landscape significantly. The money coming will include the cost of over 5,000 additional base stations and a bullish acquisition of other fringe players in the telecoms sector to add to the 9mobile brand household.” This source further added that what Teleology is coming with is also equal to an industry bailout. It transcends just acquiring 9mobile alone. Teleology had on March 21 paid the initial $50 million non-refundable deposit as a demonstration of its commitment to acquire 9mobile and was given a 90-day timeline to pay the balance having emerged the preferred bidder following the evaluation of the technical and financial bids for the telecom company.
Smile Communications emerged the reserved bidder. The process for the acquisition of 9mobile commenced in October 2017. It is being supervised by Barclays Africa, the transaction adviser appointed by the CBN, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the consortium of 13 banks.The aim is to get new investors to inject fresh capital into the telecom firm. The bid for the sale of 9mobile equities followed disagreement between Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services Limited (EMTS), formerly trading as Etisalat Nigeria, and the banks to restructure the repayment of a seven-year mid-term facility secured by the telco to service an existing loan and expand its network in 2013. Teleology Holdings, the preferred bidder is a private equity firm run by a former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MTN Nigeria, Mr Adrian Wood.
The company is a special purpose vehicle set up by Wood and some influential Nigerian investors to acquire the troubled 9Mobile. Bloomberg lists it as a private equity firm, but the value of the investment portfolio is not stated. Some reports estimated the value at $11 billion. Mr Adrian Wood, the promoter of the company, is an economist. He was trained at Cambridge and Harvard Universities. Mr Wood is also the CEO of Brymedia West Africa Limited. Teleology’s other directors include Sven-Axel Brudnicki, as Group CEO, Mr. Michael Ikpoki, a former Nigerian CEO of MTN in charge of legal, regulatory, sales and distribution, Demola Elesho as chief technical officer. The Chief Financial Officer is Mr. Kemal Shefik.