9Mobile: Who Gets The Deal?
By Gina Emmanuel
Ahead of next week, Tuesday, January 16, there is trepidation in the air as to which company finally gets the embattled 9mobile .
The five bidders that made the final list of potential buyers are Globacom, Teleology, Smile Telecoms, Helios Investment and Bharti Airtel.
Although, the new owner may actually be saving the sinking company but the icing on the cake would be in the spectrum, which the regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission(NCC), says it’s not transferable.
Already, the five are gearing up to win 9mobile, which stakeholders say it’s a win win situation. A bank official who pleaded anonymity told Gtechnews that Globacom and Bharti Airtel are all out to win the bid.
The telco, which was formerly known as Etisalat Nigeria was threatened to be taken over by consortium of 13 banks in July 2017 following a N541 billion unpaid loan. In the course of settling the issue, the Mubadala Group, major investor from the United Arab Emirates, pulled out as a result of the debt owed.
Meanwhile, following communication from the board of 9mobile to NCC’s executive vice chairman,Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, the regulator wrote Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), acknowledging the risk posed by the year-end deadline for submission of binding offers by prospective bidders for the purchase of 9mobile.
“The Commission is in receipt of a letter dated 29th November 2017 by which the Board of Directors of Emerging Markets Telecoms Services Ltd. (9Mobile) requested for an extension of the deadline for the submission of binding offers by prospective bidders from 31st December 2017 to 16th of January 2018.
“Having carefully considered the reasons given for the proposed extension in the letter under reference, the Commission confirms that it has no objection to the request and that the extension can be communicated to the Company. We thank you for your kind consideration,” Umar told CBN.