Takeover bids placed for 9mobile have now been given a deadline before a new takeover company will be selected.
A deadline for the 9mobile takeover bid has been set for Tuesday, January 16, 2018, by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) where receipt of binding offers from prospective bidders to acquire debt-laden telecom firm 9mobile will be stopped.
The NCC announced this on Thursday, January 11, 2018, that alongside the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have approved the deadline after 9mobile’s board had requested a time extension. The NCC also added that Barclays Africa had been chosen to review bids submitted before the deadline and make recommendations to 9mobile.
The Nigerian telecoms regulator said in the statement that, “The winner will now apply to NCC in order to commence the processes for securing the regulatory approvals … to give full effect to the transfer.”
The CBN stepped in after Etisalat had taken out a $1.2 billion syndicated loan from 13 Nigerian banks but struggled to make repayments due to a currency crisis and recession in Nigeria in 2017.
The CBN intervened to rescue the company and save it from collapse which led to the prevention of creditors from putting it into receivership. This resulted in a changed in both board and management as well as a brand name change to 9mobile.
The one-time parent company Etisalat also had to terminate its management agreement with its Nigerian business and surrender its 45% stake to a trustee after the CBN intervened.
Unconfirmed sources say private equity firm Helios Investment Partners has submitted a bid to acquire 9mobile. Also that, Nigeria’s Globacom and Bharti Airtel’s local subsidiary have also submitted bids.
Since the debt issue, 9mobile, the country’s fourth biggest operator, has lost subscribers. In October its total number of users had fallen to 17.1 million, giving it a 12.2% market share, from 20 million subscribers with a 14% share earlier this year said the NCC. South Africa’s MTN, the market leader has 36.1%.