Teleology Holdings was given 90 days to cough up the remaining $450 million needed to acquire troubled Nigerian operator 9mobile, after paying a $50 million deposit last month.
Payment of the non-refundable deposit was not confirmed by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) until earlier this week, when its executive vice chairman Umar Danbatta announced the news on the sideline of a meeting with the governor of the country’s central bank, local media reports stated.
Nigeria’s House of Representatives had threatened to stop the sale last week after Dambatta said his agency was yet to receive the $50 million deposit.
There were also reports NCC board chairman Olabiyi Durojaiye wanted reserve bidder Smile Telecoms to acquire 9mobile and had come up with a new set of criteria for the acquirer.
This week, though, Danbatta confirmed the deposit was paid and said if Teleology is unable to pay the rest of the money in time, Smile will be given the chance to swoop. Smile, which made an offer of $300 million, is more than keen to do so as it believes it can set straight 9mobile’s affairs.
Smile had also been ready to step in if Teleology had missed a 22 March deadline to pay the deposit.
“The information I have for you is that an emerged bidder has been granted leave to pay the reserve price, starting with a deposit of $50 million, which the emerged bidder has paid…What remains for the preferred bidder is to pay the sum of $450 million in the next 90 days or less,” Dabatta said.
“In the event that Teleology fails to make the payment at the expiration of the deadline, then the reserved bidder will be considered,” he added.