22 January 2018
| James Pearce
Only two of the five companies shortlisted to take over 9mobile have bid for the former Etisalat Nigeria, according to reports.
TheCable claims Airtel Nigeria opted not to submit a final
bid for the troubled telco, while Globacom and Helios
Investment partners made bid but did not make any financial
offers for 9mobile.
That leaves Smile Telecom and Teleology Holdings Limited as
the only bidders, submitting offers of $300 million and $500
million respectively by the 16 January deadline, the report
Citing unnamed sources, TheCable claims
Airtel’s U-turn came because acquiring the
operator would be too risky as "too many things are hidden
about the health of 9mobile". This includes a legal battle
which has seen a Lagos court order 9mobile’s
parent Emerging Markets Telecommunications Service (EMTS) to be
9mobile operated as Etisalat Nigeria until July when the
Emirates telco pulled out of the country, leading it to
rebrand. The company is up for sale after it default on
repayments for a $1.2 billion loan.
Had Airtel invested in the unit, it would have jumped from
its position as the number three operator in Nigeria to number
two, leapfrogging Globacom in terms of market share.