There are indications that Globacom, the second national mobile carrier in Nigeria might be announced as the winner of the bid to takeover 9mobile.
Formerly known as Etisalat, 9mobile got into trouble earlier this year after the company could no longer pay its $1.2 billion loans it took from a coterie of local banks and international lenders who threatened to take over its operations before the NCC arranged for an interim board for the company.
Before the feelers that Globacom might become the winner. Several companies have submitted their bids to Barclays, the financial adviser to 9mobile in a crucial takeover bid that will determine the fate of the debt-ridden mobile carrier.
It was reported that Globacom, Smile Telecoms, Teleology Holdings, Helios Investment Partners, Bharti Airtel submitted their bids. We also later learnt that Dangote’s Alheri Telecoms was part of the bid. While Aliko Dangote, the chairman of the Dangote Industries had denied his intention to invest in telecom, there are unconfirmed reports that the company submitted a bid for 9mobile.
Latest reports that Globacom might announce as the preferred bidder for 9m0bile will not only alter the future of 9mobile but the entire telecoms market in general.
As it stands, Globacom is reported to have about 37.4 million subscribers trailing MTN Nigeria’s 50.7 million subscriber base as the second largest player in the market. Should the company emerge the eventual winner, MTN Nigeria will automatically become the second largest carrier throwing the company off a position it has held since 2005.
The deal might also unsettle MTN Nigeria’s plan to go on an initial public offering, IPO, for next year on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. The IPO was to further cement the presence of the company in Nigeria as one of the major drivers of Africa’s largest economy. A possible loss of leadership position to Globacom might further increase the anxiety of retail investors for the IPO.
The next coming days will be a decider for this crucial deal to be announced to the market.