According to local media, indications have emerged that Teleology Holdings Limited, owned by Adrian Wood, a former chief executive officer of MTN Nigeria, may have been finally selected as the preferred bidder for 9Mobile, formerly Etisalat Nigeria, while Smile emerged as the reserve bidder.
Teleology, a private equity firm with an investment portfolio of $11 billion, offered more than $500 million to acquire the mobile network while Smile offered about $300 million.
It was however gathered that Teleology Holdings and Smile Communications will be given 30 days to prove that they have the financial resources to take over the troubled telco, just as an official announcement is expected to be made January 29.
9mobile, formerly known as Etisalat, had over 21 million subscribers prior to its takeover attempts by the banks in February 2017. The network now has a subscriber base of about 17 million.
Adrian Wood was the CEO of MTN Nigeria around 2002 and was credited with building a very good business model. The Australian has remained in the Nigerian business environment since November 2004 when he left MTN.
In July 2017, Mubadala Group, the major investor from the United Arab Emirates, pulled out of Nigeria’s fourth largest mobile operator as a result of the debt owed to a consortium of 13 banks.
The telco was then put on sale, with Barclays Africa acting as transaction advisers.
The NCC on January 11 had said “Barclays is expected to review the bids received by the deadline and to make recommendations to the 9Mobile Interim Board thereafter.”
After these processes, the interim board of 9mobile will then notify CBN and NCC of the winning bid.