The Federal High Court in Abuja has halted the sale of 9mobile on the ground that stakeholders of the company were not part of the acquisition process.
This is coming after the preferred bidder, Teleology Holdings, made a down payment of $50 million with a 90-day deadline to complete the payment.
According to Vanguard, the aggrieved shareholders of 9mobile that took the matter to court maintain that they were left out of the telecommunications company’s decision-making process.
The plaintiffs -- Afdin Ventures Limited and Dirbia Nigeria Limited -- claimed to be major stakeholders of the company and asked for a refund of $43,330,950, being the amount they invested in the telco.
Justice Binta Nyako, who presided over the case, ordered that every party involved should maintain status quo pending the outcome of the case which was adjourned till May 14, 2018.
Defendants in the suit are Karlington Telecommunications Ltd, Premium Telecommunications Holdings NV, First Bank of Nigeria Plc, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Etisalat International Nigeria Ltd and Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC)
The plaintiffs also claimed that 9mobile, previously operating as Etisalat Nigeria, has failed to declare dividends on its shares since 2009 till date.
Besides the fact that the new court date is a month into the 90-day ultimatum to pay up the balance of $450 million. It's clear that the financial and technical evaluation exercise is not the only hurdle for Teleology to seal the acquisition deal. And whichever way we look at this scenario, the acquirer should be worried.