South African fixed-line provider Neotel, which was nearly acquired by Vodacom earlier this year, has been sold for ZAR 6.6 billion ($435 million) to Liquid Telecom, a privately owned pan-African telecoms group.
Majority shareholder in Neotel, India’s Tata Communications, and minority shareholders led by Nexus Connexion, agreed to the deal.
Liquid is partnering with Royal Bafokeng Holdings, a South African investment group, which will take a 30 per cent stake in Neotel.
The transaction, which Liquid believes will create “the largest pan-African broadband network”, is subject to approval by South African regulatory authorities and is expected to be completed later this year.
Back in March, Vodacom had said the deal to buy the majority of Neotel’s assets had lapsed “due to regulatory complexities and certain conditions not being fulfilled”.
Nic Rudnick, Liquid Telecom CEO, said the firm will increase investments into Neotel “to cater for rapidly accelerating mobile and enterprise traffic, enabling us to launch exciting new products and services.”
“We will offer an unprecedented fibre network with a unique set of services and international connectivity for telecom operators and enterprises across sub-Saharan Africa,” he added.
Tata Communications CEO Vinod Kumar said he believes Liquid “will deliver on the vision of a well-connected Africa, which will augur well for the South African telecom industry and Neotel’s customers.”