By Aanuoluwa Omotosho and Oluwatobi Opusunju
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has expressed confidence that the 9mobile sale will be completed this week but the winning-buyer will have to wait for approval of the ‘9mobile Interim Board.’ The NCC said it has no pre-selected preferred bidder for 9Mobile and the takeover of the telecommunications company will not take place this week, January 16 as being insinuated in media reports.
In a press statement by the commission signed by Director of Public Affairs, Tony Ojobo, the commission explained that only the deadline for the receipt of binding offers from the prospective bidders will close this Tuesday leaving the weeks thereafter open for the takeover of the troubled telco.
While also denouncing claims in some quarters that it already has a ‘chosen’ bidder, the NCC reiterates that the bidding process is fostered on transparency and fairness, in line with the much integrity of the commission.
Clearing the air on when the new owners of 9mobile are to claim ownership, the commission states: “contrary to speculations that a winner would be announced on the same day (i.e. 16th of January 2018), the preferred bidder would only be announced after recommendations from the ‘9mobile Interim Board’.
“We wish to clarify that Barclays is expected to review the bids received by the deadline and to make recommendations to the 9Mobile Interim Board thereafter.”
“The NCC and CBN will be duly notified once the 9Mobile Interim Board accepts Barclays’ recommendations and a winning bid is determined in accordance with the terms of the exercise.” The commission states that Barclays Africa still has full control of the process leading to the emergence of a new owner for the company.
9mobile’s sale is expected to be completed this week in a bid process that involves Smile Telecoms Holdings, Globacom Limited, Helios Investment Partners LLP, Bharti Airtel, and Teleology Holdings Limited. There are speculation that the bidders could put in a joint bid under a consortium arrangement to beef up their chances.