Helios Investment Partners sold its 60 per cent stake in Telkom Kenya to the country’s government in a KES6.1 billion ($50.5 million) deal, bringing the curtain down on 20 years of private ownership, Business Daily reported.

The publication noted the National Treasury decided to exercise a pre-emptive right to acquire Helios’ share after it opted to exit. Prior to the move, the government government held the remaining 40 per cent in Telkom Kenya.

Business Daily reported the government stepped in to prevent Helios selling to outside investors.

A failed bid to merge Telkom Kenya with Airtel Kenya reportedly dulled Helios’ appetite to maintain its stake.

GSMA Intelligence connection figures for Q2 put Telkom Kenya on 3.4 million, Airtel Kenya on 17 million and Safaricom on 42.7 million.

Helios acquired Telkom Kenya  from Orange in 2016.