The Board of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, on Friday said that it will ensure that the nation’s fourth largest Mobile Network Operator, EMTS/9Mobile, is duly taken over by investors with the requisite technical capability and pedigree to manage the organisation.
A statement by Tony Ojobo, Director, Public Affairs, NCC, on Friday said the NCC will ensure that due process is followed in the sale of the firm.
“Rising from its Board meeting held in Abuja on Thursday, February 22, 2018, the Board affirmed its determination to avoid the recurrence of any missteps that may have led to the current situation,” the statement said.
The sale of the company has for months been marred in controversies and litigations, following the exit of Mubadala Development Company, Etisalat’s largest shareholder, in June.
On Thursday, it was reported that two of the interested bidders, Teleology Holdings Limited and Smile Telecoms Holdings, were submitted to the NCC as the selected preferred bidder and reserved bidders respectively on the recommendation of Barclays Africa, the transaction financial adviser appointed to monitor the sale of the company.
While Teteology made an offer of $500 million, Smile Telecoms reportedly offered $300 million, with their status subject to NCC’s final confirmation.
Teteology was however given 30 working days within which to pay the offer or forfeit its position to the reserve bidder. The deadline for the payment is expected to lapse sometime in the middle of March.
But when asked on Thursday to confirm the report of the preferred bidder, Mr. Ojobo declined. “We don’t work with rumours,” he said in another terse text message without giving details.
In his statement Friday, the NCC spokesperson noted that, “The board also made it clear that pursuant to the powers conferred on the commission by the provisions of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 and other instruments in that regard, the commission will ensure that all relevant statutory and regulatory processes are duly complied with in the process leading up to the emergence of new owners for the company.”
“The board therefore assured all stakeholders that the commission will apply all necessary diligence to see the ongoing sale process through to its logical conclusion in a manner that protects the overall national interest and the seamless operation of the national telecommunications network,” he said.