Nigeria's telecoms regulator approves 9mobile takeover by Teleology

Ends a year-long bidding process for 9mobile.

The takeover of 9mobile, Nigeria’s fourth-biggest telecommunications operator, by Teleology, an investment holding company, has been approved by the country’s telecoms regulator.

The approval of the deal ends a bidding process for 9mobile, which started a year ago.

Teleology, which initially made a $50 million non-refundable deposit to acquire 9mobile, has been given final approval by the board of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to own the company.

After the deal was approved, Teleology appointed a new board of directors to manage the affairs of 9mobile.

According to Reuters, Teleology was picked as preferred bidder for 9mobile in February, following a bid process arranged by Barclays Africa, after a debt default forced 9mobile’s lenders to step in.

“For us, the composition of the new board of directors is another significant milestone, and this follows the issuance of final approval of no objection by the board of the NCC to the effect that the technical and financial bids Teleology submitted for 9mobile met and satisfied all the regulatory requirements. This is indeed the dawn of a new era in the evolution of the 9mobile brand in the Nigerian market,” Teleology said in a statement.
 
The deal took longer than expected as the NCC reviewed Teleology’s financial and technical capacity before signing off the takeover, Reuter’s sources said.

9mobile, formerly called Etisalat Nigeria, was taken over by its lenders last year for failing to keep up with its debt repayments after Etisalat took a loan of $1.2 billion from a consortium of banks in 2013, according to Reuters.

9mobile has been losing subscribers. In September, it had 15.36 million users, a 9 percent market share, which was down from 20 million subscribers, or a 14 percent share, earlier in 2017, NCC data showed.