Reports by Thisday, suggest that Teleology may have won the bid for 9Mobile. Teleology is headed by Adrian Wood, an ex Chief Executive Officer of MTN. Teleology reportedly put in a bid of $500 million, while Smile bid for $300 million.
5 firms made it to the finally bidding stage namely Globacom, Smile, Airtel, and private equity firm Helios. Teleology and Smile, were the only firms that put in financial bids. Airtel, allegedly withdrew from the bid process due to what it termed irregularities.
What could happen next
If the reports are true, Teleology has become the preferred bidder, while Smile the reserve bidder. In the event of the preffered bidder not paying, the reserved bidder will take its place.
The journey so far
9Mobile (then known as Etisalat Nigeria) defaulted on a $1.2 billion loan it had obtained from a consortium of 13 banks led by GT Bank. The default led to parent company Etisalat of the UAE pullng out and relinquishing its 45%stake in the telco.
The banks threatened to take over the firm, but were however prevented from doing so by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). An interim board chaired by a Deputy Governor of the CBN was subsequently appointed.
The interim board then announced a bid process midwifed by Barclays Africa. Rumours then arose of Barclays Africa pulling out of the deal and the CBN being dissatisfied with some aspects of the bid process.
Globacom was also alleged to have been the initial front runner, prompting a denial by the Nigerian Communications Commission.The bid process was initially billed to have been concluded in December, but was extended to January to enable all firms submit final bids.
The winner of the bid process would have to contend with a court order obtained by Spectrum Wireless, which declared 9Mobile’s interim board void. The consortia of banks that are essentially in charge of the telco, may be unwilling to take further provisions on the loan. Some of the lenders such as Access Bank and UBA have already made a 30% provision on the loan granted to 9Mobile.