Court stops sale of Nigeria’s 9mobile to Teleology Holdings

Court stops sale of Nigeria’s 9mobile to Teleology Holdings

There seems to be no end in sight on the sale of 9mobile as a Nigerian court has issued an exparte motion to stop the acquisition.

It would be recalled that 9mobile was acquired by Teleology Holdings in an acquisition deal that was brokered by Barclays Africa.

Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja, ruled on an ex parte motion brought by former shareholders of the mobile carrier, Adding Ventures Limited, led by Dahiru Manual.

According a report by Nigeria’s ThisDay Newspapers,
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Court Halts Sale of 9mobile, Shareholders Led by Mangal Demand $43.3m Refund
April 19, 2018053

Alex Enumah in Abuja

Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja, Wednesday stopped the planned sale of 9mobile (formerly Etisalat Nigeria) following the opposition to the transaction raised by some aggrieved shareholders of the company.

Justice Nyako gave the order stopping the sale while ruling on an ex parte motion brought by the shareholders.

One of the companies said to be a shareholder in 9mobile and is a plaintiff in the suit, is owned by Katsina businessman, Alhaji Dahiru Mangal.

The order by the court will put a spanner in the bid by Teleology, which emerged preferred bidder in the sale process for 9mobile.
Teleology last month paid a $50 million non-refundable deposit for 9mobile and was given 90 days to pay the balance of $450 million to conclude its acquisition of the telecoms firm.

But Afdin Ventures Limited and Dirbia Nigeria Limited, who claimed to be “major investors” in Etisalat Nigeria, which was renamed 9mobile after the company’s Abu Dhabi-based investors – Etisalat Group – exited the Nigerian telco last year, complained of being left out in the firm’s decision making and are demanding a refund of their investment in 9mobile to the tune of $43,330,950.

The suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/288/2018 has Karlington Telecommunications Ltd, Premium Telecommunications Holdings NV, First Bank of Nigeria Plc, Central Bank of Nigeria, Etisalat International Nigeria Ltd and Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) as defendants.

Ruling on the ex parte moved by plaintiffs’ lawyer, Mahmud Magaji (SAN), the court held that “an order is made for the maintenance of status quo as at today”.

Neither Teleology Holdings nor 9mobile have responded to the court ruling. Teleology had disclosed last month that it did paid a compulsory deposit of $50 million to secure its successful bid for 9mobile. The company was in the process of coughing out the remaining $450 million before this ruling came up.

However, there seems to be more than meets the eye in the entire setup and shareholding structure of 9mobile, formerly called Etisalat Nigeria. It would be recalled that one Spectrum Wireless had instituted a law suit to stop the same acquisition last year. It is not clear if the company was a party to the latest law suit.