Telecommunication giants 9mobile gets new owners

After series of twists and legal turns in the takeover process of 9mobile, Teleology Technology Limited on Monday officially took over the operational affairs of the telecoms company. In a statement issued and made available to newsmen, Teleology expressed delight for the development and immediately announced the constitution of a new board of directors for Nigeria’s multi-award-winning telecommunication company, 9mobile. The statement reads that Teleology appointed the new board of directors following the successful completion of the tenure of the former board appointed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and in fulfillment of the consequential transfer of final ownership to the new investors, Teleology Nigeria Limited.

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According to Teleology, “We thank all out-going members of the board for helping to shepherd 9mobile through the critical transition phase it has passed through since July 2017 and wish them the very best in their future assignments. “For us, the composition of the new board of directors is another significant milestone, and this follows the issuance of final approval of no objection by the board of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to the effect that the technical and financial bids Teleology submitted for 9mobile met and satisfied all the regulatory requirements. This is indeed the dawn of a new era in the evolution of the 9mobile brand in the Nigerian market.

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The new board of directors appointed by Teleology are Nasiru Ado Bayero (Chairman); Asega Aliga (Non-Executive Director); Adrian Wood (Non-Executive Director); Mohammed Edewor (Non-Executive Director); Winston Ndubueze Udeh (Non-Executive Director); Abdulrahman Ado (Executive Director), and Stephane Beuvelet (Acting Managing Director). In his welcome address shortly after the constitution of the new board, the new chairman of the board, Alhaji Nasiru Ado Bayero, said, “As we begin this new epochal phase, we wish to thank all the employees who built this viable business. Our debt of gratitude also goes to our subscribers even as we assure them to get ready for real best-in-class additional value for their relationship with the 9mobile brand. Without you, there could not have been a 9mobile business for us to invest in today. We will justify your confidence in our brand by making significant investments that will improve the value you get for using 9mobile.”

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It would be recalled that the CBN in collaboration with the NCC, had in July 2017 appointed a board of directors chaired by Dr. Joseph Nnanna, the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, to oversee the affairs of the company pending the completion of regulatory due diligence of the bid documents submitted by Teleology and sixteen others for its acquisition.

The bid process was superintended by Barclays Africa. But with the emergence of the board, the long process for the acquisition of 9mobile has reached a definitive end marking the beginning of a new era for the telecommunication company. Shortly after Etisalat International gave Etisalat Nigeria a three-week deadline to drop its brand name, Etisalat Nigeria, picked up the courage to announce 9mobile as its new brand name. Etisalat International of the United Arab Emirates parted ways with its Nigerian partner, Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services Ltd, trading as Etisalat Nigeria in the wake of a crisis over a $1.2 billion loan package. Etisalat Nigeria took out a $1.2 billion (N377.4 billion) loan with 13 Nigerian banks in 2013 to refinance an existing loan and fund expansion. But four years later, it was still struggling to repay the loans.

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While the loan crisis attracted the NCC and CBN for intervention, the board of the telecom industry regulator posited that it would not approve the sale of 9mobile to any bidder without first determining its technical competence. The executive vice-chairman of the commission, Umar Danbatta, had said despite the emergence of Teleology Technology with a bid of over $500 million, the Central Bank of Nigeria would still carry out a financial evaluation of the bidder. He said the NCC would still carry out a technical evaluation to establish the company’s technical competence.