The Executive Vice chairman Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Umar Danbatta, has disclosed that the regulator will not approve the sale of 9mobile to any bidder without technical competence.
He, however, confirmed that a preferred bidder for 9mobile had emerged with the full participation of NCC, adding that the bidder was already undergoing financial evaluation.
In his words:
“Once the Central Bank of Nigeria has done the financial evaluation of the bidder, NCC will also examine the technical capacity of the preferred bidder. If the financial evaluation process was not done properly, the Central Bank of Nigeria would address questions on that; the examination process is meant to be open and transparent.”
Recall that the preferred bidder in the 9mobile bid process, Teleology Holdings has paid the initial $50m non-refundable fee before the deadline March 22 deadline.
However, the company needs to cough out an additional $450 million to complete the acquisition and has been given another 90 days to make the payment. It is expected that 9mobile will be handed over to Teleology after the payment of the balance, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
Etisalat Nigeria, now 9mobile plunged into crisis last year after it defaulted on a $1.2bn loan facility from a consortium of banks in the country.
This led to the parent company Etisalat of the UAE pulling out and relinquishing its 45% stake in the telco.
The banks were restrained from taking over the telco by the Central Bank with several of them taken provisions on the loan. The CBN also constituted a board to oversee the operations of the company. It currently commands a market share of 11.72% in the country.