The Nigerian Communications Commission has denied reports that a new owner of 9mobile will emerge on January 16, 2018.
The Director, Public Affairs, NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo, said in a statement on Thursday that January 16 was only scheduled as the deadline for the receipt and review of bidding offers from prospective buyers.
He affirmed that Barclays Africa was still in charge of the bidding process that would lead to the emergence of a new owner for the company, and was under obligation to maintain confidentiality of the acquisition.
Ojobo said, “Contrary to speculations that a winner will be announced on the same day (January 16, 2018), we wish to clarify that Barclays is expected to review the bids received by the deadline and to make recommendations to the 9mobile Interim Board thereafter.
“Barclays Africa remains in full control of the process leading to the emergence of a new owner for the company. Barclays has not authorised any publication on the matter and is obliged to maintain full confidentiality thereon.”
According to him, after the review, recommendations will be made to the 9mobile Interim Board.
Highlighting the next steps in the acquisition process, he stated that a new owner company would emerge when the interim board had accepted the recommendation made by Barclays.
The director said, “The NCC and the CBN will be duly notified once the 9mobile’s Interim Board accepts Barclays’ recommendations and a winning bid is determined in accordance with the terms of the exercise.
“The winner will now apply to the NCC in order to commence the processes for securing the regulatory approvals from the Board of the NCC necessary to give full effect to the transfer.
“We trust that the foregoing sufficiently clarifies the position of the transaction and that it lays to rest any apprehensions regarding the unfounded media publications on the sale.”
The commission and the Central Bank of Nigeria had in December 2017 given approval for an extension of time for bidding to January 16, 2018, based on the request by the 9mobile Interim Board.
Following the inability to resolve a loan of about $1.2bn with 13 Nigerian banks, the Etisalat Group withdrew its 45 per cent stake in the company.
However, through the intervention of the NCC and the CBN, the takeover of the company by the consortium of banks was prevented.
Companies that have been reportedly shortlisted for the acquisition of 9mobile after submitting their expressions of interest to Barclays include Bharti Airtel, Smile Telecoms Holdings, Helios Investment Partners LLP, Teleology Holdings Limited and Globacom.