14 March 2018
| Alan Burkitt-Gray
Teleology Holdings is set to take control of the former Etisalat Nigeria this week if it pays its $50 million deposit on its bid.
The company, controlled by former Liquid Telecom and MTN
executive Adrian Wood, bid $500 million for the company, now
known as 9Mobile, well ahead of rival operator Smile Telecoms,
which offered only $300 million.
Barclays Bank, which ran the auction for the operator,
confirmed in February that Teleology was the preferred bidder
for 9Mobile – but Smile has said it is standing by in
case Teleology does not pay its deposit on the transaction.
Teleology is due to pay the non-refundable deposit by
Etisalat pulled out of its Nigerian operation in July 2017 when
the local company defaulted on repayments for a $1.2 billion
loan. Five companies were shortlisted for the auction but
Airtel Nigeria, Globacom and Helios Investment Partners all
pulled out, leaving only Smile Telecom and Teleology
Seven years ago Wood was leading a consortium called Brymedia
West Africa that was bidding to take over
Nigeria’s moribund fixed-line operator, then
He told Nigeria media at the time that the consortium was
willing to pay $900 million for the company, having already
come third in an aborted privatisation process. The two leading
bidders failed to pay their deposits. Nitel is now Ntel, under new ownership, and
launched 4G services in 2016.
Wood is now a board member of London-based Plus44 Holdings,
which offers mobile advertising technology under the name
Sliide Airtime. Plus44 also has offices in Nigeria and the
According to his LinkedIn posting, Wood was acting COO of
Liquid Telecom for the first half of 2017 and has been CEO of
MTN Nigeria and – in the 1990s – Telenor
Reserve bidder Smile said that if it won the bid it would be
able to refarm its existing 800MHz spectrum for 9Mobile.