As an update on the proposed sale of 9mobile to potential investors, Nigerian lenders who are being owed about USD1.2 billion by the mobile carrier might have appointed Barclays to look for buyers.
According to Reuters News, Nigerian lenders who advanced the loan to 9mobile, formerly Etisalat has appointed British investment bank Barclays, to negotiate with potential buyers.
Reuters News also claimed that sources said the central bank had asked the lenders to take a five percent provision on a $1.2 billion syndicated loan to 9mobile in their third-quarter results due this month, pending the emergence of new investors.
9mobile is Nigeria’s fourth largest mobile carrier with about 19 million subscribers after Bharti Airtel’s local unit Airtel Nigeria.
The delay in the announcement of any potential investor is peculiar hearing in mind the Central Bank which intervened in the debt crisis had announced that there were several investors wanting to buy equity in the company.
On its part, 9mobile had appointed its own advisors in the quest to look for a buyer. Lenders have also reiterated their ‘hih-level’ patience to stay put till the company gets new investors.
However, in July, PageOne.ng, reported that Dangote Industries is said to have acquired 60% stake in Etisalat Nigeria. This is based on unconfirmed but reliable sources in Nigeria’s financial services sector.
Dangote Industries is owned by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote with investment across various sectors of Nigeria and Africa’s economy.
According to the sources who pleaded not to be named, French and one of the major mobile carriers in Africa, Orange Telecom as well as Vodafone are in high-level discussions to take up the remaining 40% stake in Etisalat Nigeria.
While Aliko Dangote had denied his interest in telecoms, 9Mobile has not commented or deny the speculations.