The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta has confirmed that there is a delay in the final takeover of 9mobile despite the fact that the final takeover has since been concluded.
Disclosing the cause of the delay, Dambatta said the final takeover of the embattled telco to Teleology was as a result of the unpaid $100 million outstanding debts, which 9mobile was supposed to pay to equipment suppliers and contractors like Huawei, IHS, and Nokia, among others.
Although Dambatta said the $100 million was classified outside the $1.2 billion loans that 9mobile owed the 13 local banks.
Dambatta reiterated that Teleology had deposited the balance payment of $251 million in an escrow account of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“Teleology had since paid a non-refundable deposit of $50 million and the record is there to show for it and we have verified the payment. Teleology also paid $251 million into an escrow account of the Central Bank of Nigeria.” – Dambatta.
NCC, alongside the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), have on Wednesday, August 29, concluded the sale of 9mobile to Teleology Holdings Limited. The sale of the third largest telecoms to Teleology was valued at $500 million.
Last February, Teleology Holdings had emerged as the winner of a fiercely contested bidding exercise for 9mobile’s acquisition. The bidding exercise was supervised by Barclays Africa.
But ever since Teleology’s emergence as the winner, drama, and controversies have characterised its 9mobile acquisition bid. These controversies range from opposition posed by other bidders, to the alleged refusal of banks to lend Teleology the rest of the capital it needs to finalise the acquisition bid.
Despite these issues, Teleology Holdings was optimistic that the acquisition process would go on until finalised.
The background to the entire story
The problem with Etisalat Nigeria, now 9mobile, started last year 2017 after the telco defaulted on a $1.2 billion loan it obtained from a consortium of 13 Nigerian banks led by GTBank. This caused the parent company (Etisalat of the United Arab Emirates) to pull out and relinquish its 45% stake in the company.
Following this development, the CBN restrained the Nigerian banks from taking over the telco. The CBN instead, constituted an interim board to oversee the operations of the company.