The delayed sale of Nigeria’s 9mobile hit another two hurdles as regulators opened another round of due diligence on the company set to buy the operator, and existing stakeholders sought to slam the brakes on the sale.
In separate media reports in the country, new issues emerged which again call into question the sale of the troubled operator.
Reports in Premium Times revealed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) was conducting a second round of due diligence on Teleology Holdings – the company set to buy Etisalat’s former unit in the country, now rebranded 9mobile – before finally clearing the deal.
The NCC is also reportedly still waiting for the would-be owner to pay the balance after winning the race to acquire the company in January. It paid a $50 million deposit to secure the transaction in March, though the original deadline to settle the remainder elapsed last month.
Meanwhile, The Nation reported a consortium of six stakeholder banks with investments in 9mobile as it stands today demanded a block on the sale until they are able to recover dues to a value of $43 million.
The increasingly messy sale of the debt-laden operator has been in the pipeline since major shareholders Etisalat and UAE-based investment fund Mubadala pulled out of the country in June 2017 after failing to renegotiate the terms of a $1.2 billion loan.
Etisalat Nigeria was then placed in the hands of trustees while the banks owed money attempted to negotiate a sale of the business.