Following a $1.72 billion debt default and the subsequent takeover by creditors, an acquisition loomed over 9mobile.
A few weeks down the line, ownership of the distressed telco was finally up for bidding. Teleology Holdings Limited — run by Adrian Wood, former MTN Nigeria CEO — and Smile Communications Limited were companies that notably came up with substantial bids to acquire the struggling telco.
After observing all due diligence Barclays Africa -- the financial services company in charge of the sale -- sent an official letter to Teleology Holdings Limited, confirming it as the preferred bidder.
To finalise the takeover Teleology Holdings was directed to make a non-refundable cash deposit of $50 million within 21 days or lose the bid to Smile Communications Limited. Smile on the other hand (un)surprisingly contested the verdict on the grounds that Barclays Africa did not do a thorough job of vetting the processes.
They called for a review of the process, expressing disappointment in a letter addressed to Barclays Africa on February 21, 2018, and signed by solicitors, Templars.
In fresh reports by The Guardian, the Executive Director, Operations, Smile Communications, Ahmad Farroukh further argues that his company has the expertise and finance to better manage the struggling company, and effect a transformation within 90 days.
"The first value is that we are Nigerian company already existing in the Nigerian telecoms space. So, we will come up with our existing assets to boost the 9Mobile operations. We will seek the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC’s) permission to flip our existing 800MHz frequency to 9Mobile to enhance its operations. What we are bringing to 9Mobile is huge," Executive Director, Operations, Smile Communications, Ahmad Farroukh, said over the weekend.
Barclays Africa has not yet yielded to Smile Communication's request. But the undertones surrounding the development are quite surprising; especially in light of the fact that 9mobile's takeover is considered a done deal.
Will there be an injunction or will Barclays Africa ignore the claims by Smile Communications?