UPDATED:9mobile acquisition in chaos as Teleology Holdings quits

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When matters get to a head in scandalous acquisitions of public businesses and assets, the more you look, the more mess you see. This is the sorry case in present-day corporate Nigeria as it seems the last has not been heard of the controversial acquisition of 9mobile which has dominated public attention alongside Keystone Bank in a syndicated scandal allegedly involving close allies and relatives of President Muhammadu Buhari.
It would be recalled that, towards the tail end of last year, unsavoury stories of how 9mobile was untidily acquired broke out in the Nigerian media, linking the Isa Funtua business interests to the shady deals. The man behind the Funtua business group, Alhaji Ismaila Isa Funtua, is widely known to be a close friend of President Buhari.
As the stories of the 9mobile acquisition unraveled, it was reported that Teleology Holdings, led by Mr. Adrian Wood, a well-known telecoms professional, collaborated with the Funtua Group for the acquisition of 9-Mobile. Although the full acquisition conditions set by NCC were allegedly not 100% met, 9mobile was sold to the Teleology-Funtua joint partnership.
However, the first thing that reportedly happened once Teleology was announced as the preferred buyer of 9mobile then was that the Funtua Group cunningly sidelined Adrian Woods of Teleology Holdings from the Management of the joint venture, thereby rendering him an insignificant shareholder. The Funtua Group also allegedly illegally raided Keystone Bank to source part of the funding for the acquisition of 9-Mobile. And then, in what could be termed an ultimate corporate coup, Teleology Nigeria replaced Teleology Holdings to remove any influence of Adrian Woods from 9-Mobile totally.
Now, the cup of the alleged management misdeeds on the 9mobile joint venture has run over. Teleology Holdings has been reported to have expressed its dissatisfaction over the untidy business relationship with its local partner, Teleology Nigeria under the Funtua Group, and has decided to pull out from the 9mobile project.
The implication is that Teleology Holdings will be divesting its stake in the local joint venture, Teleology Nigeria Limited, which require a change of name. Consequently, the $50 million initial deposit paid for the acquisition of 9mobile by Teleology Holdings will also be under the threat of withdrawal.
Concerned parties who are privy to the whole messy 9mobile deal confirm that Teleology Holdings since last year has become increasingly discontented with actions taken by the Funtua Group partners outside of the initial agreed business plan drafted since the November 12, 2018 formal take-over of 9mobile.
What effectively frustrated the joint investment venture was that Teleology Holdings has been barred from executing a management services contract with the local joint venture partner, Teleology Nigeria Limited, which would have enabled Teleology Holdings and its team of experts oversee the implementation of the organization’s elaborate business plans including funding proposals for repositioning 9mobile.
Now, the question on the lips of curious observers of the developments on the 9mobile situation is: will the alleged pull-out by Teleology Holdings serve as a lesson on how not to acquire public businesses and assets? Or will the system of questionable acquisitions aided by abuse of government connections persist? Time will tell.

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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