By Dipo Olowookere
Nigerian multinational telecommunications company, Globacom, has refuted reports claiming it has acquired its troubled competitor in the market, 9mobile.
Reports went viral on Thursday that the mobile phone operator, owned by billionaire businessman, Mr Mike Adenuga, has finally bought 9mobile.
But reacting to the development on Friday, Globacom, fondly called Glo, said in a statement issued in Lagos that it was yet to purchase 9mobile.
January 16, 2018 has been fixed for the day to announce the new buyer of 9mobile, formerly known as Etisalat Nigeria.
Etisalat Nigeria obtained a syndicated loan of $1.2 billion from 13 Nigerian banks to expand its operations in the country.
However, along the line company found it difficult to meet up with the repayment plan as a result of economic downturn in Nigeria in 2016.
The banks came knocking and when it was glaring that the loan could not be repaid, the lenders made attempts to take over the business.
But the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) moved against this and appointed a new management for the firm.
Barclays Africa was later contracted to shop for new investor for 9mobile, after its main investor, the Etisalat Group pulled out of the business, requesting that the use of its brand name in Nigeria be stopped. This forced the Etisalat Nigeria to change its name to 9mobile.
From the bids received from various investors, Globacom made it to the top five and is seen to be likely favoured to take over 9mobile.
But in the statement issued today, Glo urged “all stakeholders and, indeed, the Nigerian public to disregard the report” that it has finally acquired 9mobile only waiting for the official announcement next Tuesday.
“We are bound by the terms of the acquisition process as stipulated by the authorities handling it and we will not in any way sway or deviate from the rules”.
“We repose confidence in Barclays Africa, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) which are handling the process that will lead to the emergence of a new owner for the company,” the statement said on Friday.
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