Airtel will no longer be a party to the process of acquiring the properties of now-defunct Etisalat (which is now known as 9Mobile), and that has come as a shock to many.
Being the third largest provider of telecoms services in the country, industry experts had seen this as a big boom for Airtel. Afterall, successful purchase of the infrastructure owned by 9Mobile would make Airtel the number one biggest telecoms provider in the country, catapulting their customer base to a combined 85.5 million subscribers on both voice and internet packages.
According to an insider who spoke to TheCable on the matter, the reason for Airtel’s cold feet at this stage of the deal was because the brand felt ‘many things are not too plain with the entire process.’ they stated the source reported that
Airtel believes too many things hidden about the health of 9Mobile, and that it is too risky for anyone to buy the company. Things become compounded with the court case by Spectrum Wireless.
Of course, it is reasonable that such a thing will scare off the company from making the purchase. Risk management and the bearing of shareholders would have been significant factors in reaching this decision. However, looking on the bright side for this sale are the quotes of $500 million and about $300 million which have been submitted by Teleology Holdings Limited and Smile Telecoms Holdings respectively.
Since Airtel is out of the deal, and two companies have already brought their quotes, that leaves just the last two of five – Globacom and Helios Investment Partners. Surprisingly too, none of these companies came forward with a quote, even as the window for bid submissions closed. It remains to see what new turn the sale will take, and who eventually gets all the spoils in the end.