Vodacom drops Neotel deal, citing regulatory complexities - Mobile World Live

Vodacom drops Neotel deal, citing regulatory complexities

01 MAR 2016

South African operator Vodacom’s attempt to salvage its proposed acquisition of fixed-line provider Neotel has failed.

Vodacom said the deal to buy the majority of Neotel’s assets had lapsed “due to regulatory complexities and certain conditions not being fulfilled”.

The two companies “have agreed that the proposed restructured transaction, announced on 8 December 2015, can no longer be progressed,” it added.

Following opposition from rivals and concerns expressed by the country’s antitrust regulator, Vodacom said in December it would no longer acquire Neotel’s valuable licences and spectrum, although it would continue to acquire its other assets, customer base and staff.

Under the restructured deal, Neotel would offer a roaming agreement to all the country’s mobile operators, including Vodacom as well as rivals, using its radio frequencies.

Vodacom’s hope that all parties could accept its restructured offer did not work out. “It is disappointing that we have reached this conclusion despite all our efforts to find a way to deal with the complexities of the restructured transaction,” said Shameel Joosub (pictured), CEO of Vodacom.

“Our ambition to increase the rollout of fibre-based broadband services to customers remains. We will continue to look for spectrum opportunities, as well as opportunities to accelerate our fixed line business.”

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Richard Handford

Richard is the editor of Mobile World Live’s money channel and a contributor to the daily news service. He is an experienced technology and business journalist who previously worked as a freelancer for many publications over the last decade including...

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