Safaricom set to drop Yu bid

04 April 2014 | Sophie Donoghue


Kenyan operator Safaricom has reportedly dropped its bid to acquire assets in the country’s third-largest player, Yu.

Safaricom and Bharti Airtel’s subsidiary in the country made a joint bid to acquire the Essar Communications-owned company.

Safaricom was looking to acquire Yu’s infrastructure, including base stations, in an effort to improve network quality, while Airtel was looking to make the acquisition in a bid to take Yu’s subscriber base.

Earlier this week, Kenyan regulators granted approval for the bid, setting out several market conditions for the operator. Conditions included infrastructure sharing, in addition to co-operation on how they provide customers different services.

According to sources, Safaricom was unhappy with the tough conditions, in particular the demand to open up its M-Pesa agency network to rivals Airtel and Orange, and to MVNO’s.

Safaricom said it was studying the conditions and plans to make its decision public within three weeks.