The Future of Embattled Former Etisalat now 9Mobile Remains Unclear – NCC Wades In
9Mobile – Teleology Holdings may pull out of a planned 9mobile acquisition despite initially been very keen to acquire the troubled operator, claiming a turnaround plan it had worked on for a significant period was blocked by management, local media reported.
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In August 2018 the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Central Bank of Nigeria approved the sale for $500 million, after many hiccups spanning a year.
Following this, Teleology Holdings formed a joint venture with 9mobile, called Teleology Nigeria.
Now it appears Teleology Holdings founder Adrian Wood has resigned from 9mobile’s board, disappointed with the situation, and the company will exit the joint venture.
“Fifteen Teleology experts have worked since June 2017 on detailed 9mobile turnaround planning, development strategies and financial restructuring. This included lining up more than $500 million fresh direct foreign investment from international institutions,” he was reported to have said.
“9mobile is an exciting opportunity to build a revolutionary mobile network that could be the pride of Nigeria, unfortunately it appears that we will not be able to participate,” he added.
Meanwhile some conflicting reports state the management of 9mobile wanted to get rid of Woods and his company following allegations of double dealing with competitors and a preference for hiring Europeans over Nigerians.
Either way, the $50 million deposit paid for the acquisition by Teleology Holdings is in jeopardy.
Adding to 9mobile’s woes is a recent NCC decision to give a green light to infrastructure services provider IHS to disconnect the operator’s network. If this happens, its 15 million active subscribers will be unable to use its services.
The messy sale of the operator has been in the works since major shareholders Etisalat and UAE-based investment fund Mubadala pulled out of the country in June 2017 after failing to renegotiate the terms of a $1.2 billion loan.
NCC WADES IN – 9mobile Future
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) wants to ensure the telecoms industry in the country is not disrupted following reports Teleology Holding is pulling out of 9mobile, even though the parties have not approached it for mediation.
Last week news emerged Teleology Holdings (which acquired a 13 per cent stake in Teleology Nigeria, a consortium that invested in 9mobile) may withdraw from the deal, claiming a turnaround plan it had worked on was blocked by management.
This was followed by an explanation from the troubled operator’s board of directors that said Teleology Holdings did not hold up its commitments.
“While every partner in the consortium was delivering and meeting their obligations to the partnership in terms of financial resources, physical availability for crucial meetings and extensive network to help build the business, Mr Adrian Wood’s Teleology Holdings, which only owned a minority stake in Teleology Nigeria, failed severally and wholly to meet theirs,” various media reports citing a statement by 9mobile’s regulatory and corporate affairs director Oluseyi Osunsedo said.
Teleology Nigeria also accused Teleology Holding of not paying up the $600 million it owed for its stake, though this figure is higher than the bid of $500 millionthe latter was said to have made.
Now, NCC executive vice chairman Umar Garba Danbatta has said: “We need stability in the telecoms industry and we will do everything possible to protect the interest of both the 9mobile subscribers and its investors and ensure there is no disruption of services”.
He added that NCC is a regulator “that is both customer and investor centric” and has already set up measures to resolve the issue.