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Teleology Holdings Pays $50m Deposit For 9Mobile

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Just a day to the deadline, the preferred bidder for Nigeria’s 9mobile, Teleology Holdings, has paid a $50 million deposit for the company.
With this initial deposit, the investment firm is expected to pay the balance of the agreed $500 million purchase price in the next 90 days and thereby take control of the mobile operator, and thereby.

9mobile

9mobile

9mobile attracted 16 bidders when it went up for sale last year, with a short list of 10 emerging in November. They includes: Globacom ,Airtel Nigeria, South Africa-based Smile Telecom Holdings, Africell Holdings, and Helios Towers.

Recall that five would-be buyers were still in the running when Teleology, which is led by former MTN Nigeria CEO Adrian Wood, was named as the preferred bidder late last month, with only two submitting financial bids.

Smile Telecoms was appointed as reserve bidder should a deal with Teleology fail to materialise. Reports have indicated that the issue of restructuring 9mobile’s debt could prove to be a stumbling block for the deal.

9mobile was known as Etisalat Nigeria until July last year but took on its new identity after former parent Etisalat missed a $1.2 billion loan repayment deadline and forfeited its stake in the company.

Control of the company passed to its lenders, who brought in a new management team with a view to turning around its fortunes.

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Statistics have shown that 9mobile has an 11.5% share of the Nigerian mobile market. That puts it in a distant fourth place behind market leader MTN, which serves 36.4% of subscribers, and number two and three operators Airtel and Globacom, which both had shares of just over 25% and 26% respectively.

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