The deadline to sell 9mobile formerly called Etisalat Nigeria by year end has been moved till next year, Technology Times has learnt.
Five companies including two top rivals, Airtel and Globacom, are in the race to buy 9Mobile after the fourth largest mobile phone company was offered for sale following $2.1 billion debts owed creditor banks.
The plan to sell 9mobile has become the telecoms sector’s most anticipated deal and government regulators who have averted the takeover of the mobile phone company have promised that the deal will be closed by end of the year.
But Barclays Africa, the transaction advisers for the 9mobile sale, have requested an extension of the deadline set to close the deal, people conversant with situation today confirmed to Technology Times.
Barclays Africa says it expects to complete the sale of 9mobile at a date not exceeding January 15, 2018 in a request to the telecoms regulator to approve the deadline shift, a source confirmed.
“NCC has agreed to the request for extension but on condition that there will be no further request to extend the transaction any further”, according to the credible source that spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the banking and telecoms regulators respectively jointly averted the takeover of 9mobile to save the mobile phone company in the wake of its debt crisis.
CBN and NCC had earlier jointly protested the alleged lack of transparency by Barclays Africa in the handling of the process to sell 9mobile, TheCable has also reported.
Meanwhile, two of 9mobile’s competitors, Glo and Airtel Nigeria, are among the five contenders that have made the last five bidders in the race to buy the mobile phone company alongside Smile Telecoms Holdings, Helios Towers and Teleology Holdings Limited.
In the event that any of the two bidders succeed in buying 9mobile, they reckon the acquisition provides a springboard to become the number one player in the Nigerian telecoms industry.
The exit of Etisalat and Mubadala from the company was later followed by a name change from Etisalat Nigeria to 9mobile which has also lost some subscribers in the wake of the financial difficulties.
Boye Olusanya, CEO of 9mobile said in July this year while announcing the name change that that the new brand will ensure business continuity for the fourth largest telecoms operator in the country.
“A strong and resilient Nigerian spirit continues to reside in us, uniting us with you our subscribers and we are confident that you will continue to believe in our new brand, which strongly reflects our innate creativity and youthfulness”, according to the 9mobile CEO.