Firm shops for $300m to acquire 9Mobile
The numerous impediments in the way of the sale of 9Mobile notwithstanding, the deal could be completed any time soon, The Guardian has learnt.This is even as the 90-day grace to Teleology Holdings, the preferred bidder, draws closer. Though it had paid the $50 million non-refundable fee.
The Guardian further gathered that the company, which faces a major challenge from at least two sides – a lawsuit in Nigeria and stiff opposition from fellow competitor and bidder, Smile Telecom – had hired UBS to help it raise a $300 million bridge loan from local banks and investors to cement the acquisition.
UBS is a global firm providing financial services in over 50 countries.Information from TMT Finance.com, a news platform, also indicated that losing Smile Telecom has been lobbying which could end up with Teleology being auditioned at the House of Representatives to present the viability of its project for 9Mobile.
A Nigerian High Court has also put on hold the sale of mobile firm following opposition to the deal by some shareholders. The move is particularly being challenged by Katsina businessman, Alhaji Dahiru Mangal.
However, sources added that it would be hard to find grounds to stop the deal from happening.As for the court order, the local councils overseeing the case have already given an informal approval for the deal to go ahead, sources commented.
Considering all the delays, the transaction could close late June.TMT, which also confirmed the involvement of UBS to get $300 million, informed that Teleology made an offer of $500 million for 9Mobile, adding that the balance of $200 million would be raised via equity.Teleology, a special purpose vehicle (SPV), was set up by Nigerian investors. Teleology is under the stewardship of Adrian Wood, the pioneer Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria.Already, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said it would not approve the sale of telecommunications firm to any bidder without technical competence.
According to the Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umaru Danbatta, during an interaction with journalists, a “preferred bidder for 9Mobile had emerged with the full participation of NCC,” adding that the bidder was already undergoing financial evaluation.He added: “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.“If the financial evaluation process was not done properly, the CBN would address questions on that. The examination process is meant to be open and transparent.”