Preferred bidder makes $50m down payment for 9mobile

The preferred bidder for 9mobile, Teleology Holdings Limited, has paid the sum of $50m, being the non-fundable 10 per cent of the bid price required to keep its interest alive in taking over Nigeria’s fourth largest mobile operator.

The Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, who disclosed this on the sidelines of a meeting with Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, in Abuja on Tuesday, also stated that the preferred bidder had less than 90 days to pay the balance of $450m.

According to Danbatta, failure by Teleology to pay the remaining $450m on schedule will lead to it losing the spot to the reserved bidder, Smile Communications.

Danbatta and Emefiele also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the licensing of payment operators and financial inclusion process in the country.

On the sale of 9mobile, the NCC boss told journalists, “The information I have for you is that an emerged bidder has been granted leave to pay the reserve price, starting with a deposit of $50m, which the emerged bidder has paid. We have information on that.

“What remains for the preferred bidder is to pay the sum of $450m in the next 90 days or less. After the payment of that balance, 9mobile will be transferred to the emerged bidder, which is Teleology.

“In the event that Teleology fails to make the payment at the expiration of the deadline, then the reserved bidder will be considered. The reserved bidder is Smile Communications.”

Answering questions on the MoU signed with the apex bank, Danbatta stated, “The MoU was drafted by a committee made up of representatives of the NCC and the CBN, which culminated in the signing of the MoU.

“On the basis of the MoU that we have signed, the two organisations have indicated commitment to driving the financial inclusion process in the country as well as ensuring improvement in mobile money penetration.”

Emefiele put the penetration level of financial inclusion in the country at 48 per cent, adding that the regulatory body had set a target of 80 per cent by the year 2020.

He said, “Let me seize this opportunity to welcome the EVC of the NCC to the CBN and to thank the NCC for finding time to visit us in the CBN for the signing of the MoU between the NCC and the CBN for the payment system in Nigeria.

“This is a landmark document, which our teams have worked on for several months, trying to put things together with the intention to see to how the NCC and the CBN can work together towards driving the payment system in Nigeria, reducing cash transaction and enhancing cashless operations in the country.”

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