9Mobile Sale: NCC Says No Winner Has Emerged Yet, Warns Media Against Speculations

The Nigerian Communication Commission, NCC has disclosed that telecommunications company, 9mobile is yet to be sold.

In a statement by NCC’s Director, Public Affairs, Mr. Tony Ojobo, the commission insisted that no winner had emerged on the acquisition process, dismissing insinuations that a preferred bidder had been anointed to acquire 9mobile.

Ojobo described the publication in a section of the media as untrue and unfounded. He explained that Barclays Africa remained in full control of the process leading to the emergence of a new owner or owners for the company

“Our attention has been drawn to newspaper publications alleging that a preferred bidder has been anointed to acquire 9Mobile and otherwise speculating on the outcome of the ownership transfer process. For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to provide the following clarification and update on the process: Barclays Africa remains in full control of the process leading to the emergence of a new owner for the company. Barclays has not authorized any publication on the matter and is obliged to maintain full confidentiality thereon.

“An approval of the request for extension of time by the 9Mobile Interim Board was given by the 2 regulators – NCC and CBN. This set the deadline for the receipt of binding offers from the prospective bidders till 16th January 2018. Contrary to speculations that a “winner” will be announced on the same day (i.e. 16th of January 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”, the statement reads.

Ojobo disclosed that the NCC and CBN will be duly notified once the 9Mobile Interim Board accepts Barclays’ recommendations and a winning bid is determined in accordance with the terms of the exercise. He added that the winner will apply to 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.

Recall that NCC had earlier announced that about five telcos, Airtel, Globacom, Smile Communications, Helios, and Teleology Holdings Limited were shortlisted for final bidding from about 16 firms, including MTN, Airtel, Ntel (former NITEL), Virgin Mobile from the United Kingdom and Vodacom of South Africa, BUA Group, Morning Side Capital Partners, Obot Etiebet & Co, Blackstone Private Equity, and Hamilton and George International Limited, that initially expressed interest and filed bids with 9mobile’s financial advisor, Barclays.

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