Smile communications assures of repositioning 9Mobile in 90 days
Executive Director, Operations, Smile Communications, Ahmad Farroukh, said in Lagos at the weekend, that 9Mobile deserved the best and should be sold to an existing telecoms company with the right technical expertise and financial strength to turn it around for the highly competitive market within a few months.
Barclays Africa, financial advisors to 9Mobile had last month written to Teleology Holdings, one of the bidders, as the preferred bidder for the telecommunications firm, after what it described as rigorous process.
In the letter announcing Teleology Holdings as the preferred bidder, it was asked to make a non-refundable cash deposit of $50 million within 21 days from the date of the letter, dated February 21, 2018, or lose the bid to Smile Holdings Limited.
But Smile Communications had since faulted the selection of Teleology Holdings as the preferred bidder on the grounds that Barclays Africa did not do a thorough job of the processes.
It, therefore, called for a review of the process. Smile’s grouse was contained in a letter addressed to Barclays Africa dated February 21, 2018 and signed by Templars, its solicitors.
In the two-page letter, Smile, which emerged the reserve bidder, expressed surprise and disappointment at the manner in which the selection process for the Preferred Bidder and Reserve Bidder was conducted.
Of particular concern to Smile Telecoms, was the fact that the selection of the Preferred Bidder was announced before the stated deadline of February 26, 2018 as set out in the process letter.
An industry source, which is monitoring the deal, told The Guardian that Smile, therefore, requested Barclays, to as a matter of fairness and urgency, provide a practicable and verifiable proof that the selected preferred bidder has satisfied all the conditions precedent to the selection.
However, the source disclosed that in its reply of February 26, 2018, Barclays Africa promised to “be in touch with Smile to discuss any updates on the transaction, to the extent considered necessary.”
Farroukh said Smile would bring three-dimensional values to 9Mobile once it was allowed to acquire it.
“The first value is that we are Nigerian company already existing in the Nigerian telecoms space. So, we will come up with our existing assets to boost the 9Mobile operations. We will seek the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC’s) permission to flip our existing 800MHz frequency to 9Mobile to enhance its operations. What we are bringing to 9Mobile is huge.
He added, “The second value that we will bring to 9Mobile is the monetary value. We will bring in fresh millions of dollars from foreign financing outside Nigeria, into 9Mobile to pay off its indebtedness to the banks and also pay off any other group that the company is indebted to and we will still have enough to invest in 9Mobile and make it competitive.”