The board of Botswana-based operator Mascom raised concerns about MTN Group selling its majority stake in the operator to Econet Wireless, believing stakeholder Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) should have had a say in the matter, Mmegi reported.

MTN agreed the $300 million sale to JV partner Econet Wireless last week following a review of its portfolio.

Econet Wireless is owned by Strive Masiyiwa, who founded Mascom in 1998 but gradually sold off most of his shares.

Today, Mascom’s board is dominated by representatives of BPOPF and the operator is one of the pension fund’s most lucrative investments.

Sources quoted by Mmegi said BPOPF representatives on the board rejected MTN’s proposals and argued the pension fund should be given the first right to buy any shares on offer.

“The pension fund is well capable of making an offer for those shares and if they cannot, they could find partners,” said a source, adding: “At worse, they could even list those shares.”

Another source stated: “Masiyiwa apparently wants to come back to significant equity through purchasing MTN’s shares.”

The board also questioned the valuation of the deal and said due diligence will have to be conducted before the share transfer process can begin.