Former Etisalat Nigeria in ‘legal action’ against takeover partner

01 February 2019 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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The businessman and company that were trying to rescue the former Etisalat Nigeria have started legal action against the renamed 9mobile.

The move comes two weeks after Capacity revealed that a rescue bid for the company appeared to have collapsed following a breakdown of relations with Teleology Holdings, which planned a takeover.

Adrian Wood, the CEO of Teleology, confirmed the move in a message to Capacity after he was asked for a comment on the situation.

“No statements for now as this is going to litigation,” he replied via LinkedIn.

Teleology is a Nigerian company led by Wood, a former Liquid Telecom, MTN and Telenor executive. Reports in November 2018 said Teleology was paying $251 million for 9mobile on top of a $50 million deposit.

Etisalat Nigeria, part-owned by the UAE operator, collapsed in July 2017 when the local company defaulted on repayments for a $1.2 billion loan. Barclays Bank ran an auction for the operator and confirmed in February 2018 that Teleology was the preferred bidder for 9Mobile. The regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), approved the deal in November 2018.

However, after that the relationship appears to have completely broken down just afterwards. In a statement to Nigerian media, 9mobile said Wood “was not personally present for all the critical presentations made by the consortium during the bid process” and the company complained that he “was unable to make financial commitments” during the process.

Wood, whose LinkedIn entry says he has “wide hands-on operational management in telecom, IT, and digital media across >20 countries on four continents”.

He is a board member in charge of telecoms business development at a UK company, Plus44 Holdings, which runs an app business, Sliide.