Shareholder Dispute Escalates as IHS Partners MTN Group, Wendel Over Governance Issues


IHS Holding has extended an enhanced offer of commercial terms to MTN Nigeria for the lease of 2,500 towers previously lost to American Tower Corporation (ATC), aiming to avert potential network disruptions in Africa’s most populous country. MTN Nigeria, a subsidiary of South Africa’s MTN Group, awarded the leasing rights to ATC Nigeria in September, following a competitive bidding process for sites expiring in 2024 and 2025.

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This strategic move by MTN Nigeria is expected to diversify its towers portfolio and realize substantial network cost efficiencies. IHS Towers’ Chairman and CEO, Sam Darwish, affirmed that while these towers constitute a minor portion of the company’s total tenancies, IHS is prepared to align its terms with those of ATC to mitigate potential disruptions, withholding specific details on the improved commercial terms.

MTN clarified that its agreement with ATC is final, emphasizing ongoing constructive engagement with IHS for future opportunities, including site renewals. The operator expressed a preference for bilateral renewals contingent on competitive pricing and terms, citing the superior proposal from ATC in this instance.

IHS, which possesses 16,000 towers in Nigeria, with MTN leasing 14,600 of them, faces concerns about potential contract losses as MTN Nigeria reviews other tower agreements nearing renewal. The remaining tower leases with IHS extend between 2025 and 2029, with a majority expiring in 2029.

Furthermore, IHS is entangled in a shareholder dispute involving MTN Group, its largest shareholder with a 26% stake, alongside French financial investor Wendel and activist investor Blackwells Capital. The discord revolves around governance issues, and Darwish confirmed ongoing engagements with Wendel and MTN to address these concerns.

Gbenga Samson
Gbenga Samson
Samson Gbenga Salau [Editorial Board Adviser] Gbenga Samuel Salau is a professional journalist with over 17 years experience in journalism, he is a graduate of Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan. On completion of his youth service, he joined The Guardian as a freelance journalist and was later absorbed as a staff. While in the University, he was a campus journalist reporting for the Independence Hall and Faculty of Arts Press Clubs. As a campus journalist, he won the following awards; Independence Hall Press Best News writer; University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best News Reporter/Writer; First Runner-up, Reuben Abati Award for Investigative Journalism; Association of Faculty of Arts Students’ Press Best Reporter; University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best Political Writer; Winner, Reuben Abati Award for Investigative Journalism, and University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best Interviewer. He served the Association of Communication and Language Arts Students, as the Public Relation Officer, the same year he was appointed the News Editor of the Association of Faculty of Arts Students Press. The following session, he was made the General Editor, and a member of the 13-man University of Ibadan Students’ Union Transition Committee. As a reporter in The Guardian, in 2014, he won the Promasidor Quill Award Best Report on Nutrition and DAME Business Reporting category. In the 2015 edition of the Promasidor Quill Award, he won the best Report on Nutrition and Brand Advocate Categories, while in 2016, he won the NMMA Print Journalist of the Year, first runner-up Golden Pen Reporter of the Year and SERAs CSR Awards. Gbenga Salau loves traveling, reading, and listening to songs with good lyrics no matter the genre.

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