Teleology’s acquisition of Nigerian operator 9mobile could fall through if it does not pay the remaining $450 million fee within 90 days.
Last month, the holdings company paid a non-refundable deposit of $50 million to acquire the beleaguered unit, but receipt of the deposit was only confirmed by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) earlier this week.
There had been significant uncertainty over whether Teleology Holdings was willing or able to follow through with its winning bid for 9mobile, with Nigeria’s House of Representatives threatening to block the sale last week after NCC executive vice chairman Umar Danbatta stated that his agency had not received the $50 million.
Rival operator Smile Telecoms, which lodged a $300 million bid for 9mobile, had been hoping to step in as the buyer if Teleology missed the 22nd March deadline for paying its deposit. Now that Teleology’s deposit has been received, it has been given 90 days to pay its balance, with Danbatta confirming that Smile will be able to take over the acquisition if the full amount is not received.
“The information I have for you is that an emerged bidder has been granted leave to pay the reserve price, starting with a deposit of $50 million, which the emerged bidder has paid…What remains for the preferred bidder is to pay the sum of $450 million in the next 90 days or less,” Danbatta said.
Smile has repeatedly stated its belief that it is the right company to set 9mobile on the path to profitability. Recent reports have indicated that NCC board chairman Olabiyi Durojaiye would prefer Smile to acquire 9mobile, and has created a new set of criteria for the operator.
“In the event that Teleology fails to make the payment at the expiration of the deadline, then the reserved bidder will be considered,” noted Danbatta.