9mobile Sale: Teleology Struggles to Beat Deadline, Shops for $300m

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Lagos, Nigeria, May 15, 2018// – Hope seems to be rising for the 9mobile preferred bid winner, Teleology Holdings, as the deal for the acquisition of the debt-ridden telecommunications company, formerly known as Etisalat, will continue despite the challenges from different opposition groups trying to stop the ongoing sale process.

This is as Teleology has intensified efforts to beat the deadline for the payment of the bid sum as it shops for $300 million.

According to sources, the 9mobile deal would still go ahead despite the challenges from opposition groups that are trying to use the court to stop the sale of 9mobile to the preferred bidder, Teleology Holdings Limited.

A report by TMT Finance said some operators had been lobbying for the 9mobile case, which could end up with Teleology being auditioned in front of the House of Representatives to present the viability of its project for 9mobile.

A Federal High Court had also put on hold the sale of 9mobile following opposition to the deal by some shareholders of the company. One of the companies said to be a shareholder in 9mobile and a plaintiff in the suit is owned by Katsina businessman, Alhaji Dahiru Mangal.

However, sources added it would be hard to find grounds to stop the deal from happening on both of these fronts.

As for the court order, the local councils overseeing the case have already given an informal approval for the deal to go ahead, sources said.

Considering all the delays, the transaction could close late June.

Since the announcement of Teleology Holdings as the bid winner, the company has faced a major challenge from at least two sides: a lawsuit in Nigeria and stiff opposition from fellow competitor and bidder, Smile Telecom.

According to the report, Teleology Holdings 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.

Teleology, it was gathered, made an offer of $301 million to acquire 9mobile, and has since paid the $50 million non-refundable cash deposit to clinch its preferred bidder position for the sale of 9mobile.

The remaining amount to be paid will be raised via equity, the TMT Finance report said.

Teleology, a special purpose vehicle (SPV), was set up by Nigerian investors.

Teleology is under the stewardship of Adrian Wood, one of the past CEOs of MTN Nigeria.

Adrian Wood, an Australian-born technocrat, was the Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria from 2002 to 2004.

In all of the opposition, Wood remained resolute and optimistic that he would deliver on promise in terms of the financial ability of Teleology to pay all monies pertaining to the acquisition of 9mobile, and in terms of the technical capability to handle 9mobile.

To set the ball rolling, Wood, in less than 24 hours after meeting the March 22 deadline for the payment of the $50 million non-refundable cash deposit for 9mobile, announced his 10-point agenda on which the telecoms company would be managed.

Teleology, in a statement, detailed an ambitious action plan that would guide its rapid overhaul not only of the network but all aspects of the operations.

According to Wood, “9mobile is transiting into a new phase that will be defined by optimal value delivery: value to our employees, value to our customers, value to local communities and indeed to all stakeholders.”

He added that the new organisation to emerge would be “engineering led and brand driven.”

“In delivering service, we will strive to ensure that 9mobile operations deliver fulfilment to our customers, empowerment to local communities, protection to the vulnerable, and excellent rewards not only to our shareholders but to all stakeholders,” Wood said.


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