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Telecoms operators await conclusion of 9Mobile deal, stakeholders lament slow FDIs inflow

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Baring any unforeseen circumstances, the sale of 9Mobile would be concluded this month, ending the much-awaited transaction.

This is because the 90-days handed Teleology Holdings, the preserved bidder for the take-over of 9Mobile, would end in about two weeks.

Teleology Holdings had made a non-refundable payment of $50 million through Keystone Bank to the regulators, with United Capital Trustees Limited and United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, as beneficiaries.

The firm is now left with a balance of $450 million, which when raised and subsequently made available to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), would complete the transaction while Teleology Holdings would become the new owners of the telecoms firm.

Industry sources monitoring the deal told The Guardian at the weekend that Teleology Holdings would meet and conclude the deal on or before the due date. Saying they do not see the deal extending beyond this month.

The Guardian learnt that the NCC and CBN were discussing with Teleology Holdings to ensure that the transaction met the needed regulatory compliance and ensure the deal do not exceed this month.

It was also learnt that to facilitate the deal, Teleology Holdings hired UBS in May to help raise a $300 million bridge loan from local banks and investors in what is believed to be the final stage.

Teleology, a special purpose vehicle (SPV), which emerged preferred bidder for the transaction on February 21, 2018, set up by Nigerian investors, is under the stewardship of Adrian Wood, pioneer Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria.

On the need to complete the deal this month, a telecoms expert, Kehinde Aluko, urged the regulators to ensure that thorough due diligence was done to avoid any challenges in the future.

He said the process of getting investors for 9Mobile had extended to almost two years, adding that the deal should have been concluded within six months.

Supporting Aluko’s claims, Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo, said the industry requires consistent investments.

“As you are aware, not many investors are able and willing to invest in Nigeria at this time, going by current socio-economic situation and recession. Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) into the sector has been slow since the beginning of the year.

“The slow inflow of FDIs into the sector should be a source of concern to the industry and we must re-think some of our policies and strategies and make them more attractive for investors,” he stated.


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