The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has reiterated that the December 31 deadline for the handover of 9mobile to the preferred bidder is sacrosanct.
Globacom Limited, Bharti Airtel, Smile Telecoms Holdings, Helios Investment Partners LLP and Teleology Holdings Limited have all been shortlisted as the five bidders still in the running to buy 9mobile, the Nigeria’s fourth largest telecommunications provider, which ran into financial problem with some banks in July.
The companies were selected through a process conducted by Barclays Bank, the financial adviser to the creditor banks, on December 4.
But speaking to journalists on the sideline of the 82th edition of Telecoms Consumers Parliament in Abuja ON Thursday, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta said the five shortlisted companies had been allowed to conduct due diligence on 9mobile.
Prof Danbatta said the next stage of the sale process after due diligence would be for the firms evidence of strong financial commitment to buy 9mobile.
He said Nigerian authorities would not just handover 9mobile to any company, but to a very “technically and financially capable company.”
He assured that there would be seamless takeover of the company, and that whoever buys it would improve the fortune of the company.
He said: “As you are aware five bidders have emerged as I am talking to you and they have been allowed to access the data room of the 9mobile in order for them to get access to the financial situation of the company and subsequently make bid for the takeover of the company.
“But we will ensure that the takeover is done in a regulated manner, not a forceful manner. That is why the CBN and the NCC are supervising what is going on through the interim board that was jointly set up by the NCC and other partners.”
Meanwhile, the NCC boss has disclosed that the number of subscribers using the ‘Do Not Disturb’ had risen from 500,000 to 10million within eight months; underscoring the fact the campaign was achieving its objective.
He said the telecom consumer is the paymaster of the operators hence he should be treated as a king.
9mobile which was formerly Etisalat rebranded after its major owners in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, pulled out and a new board was inaugurated to run its affairs.
This was after failed negotiation with its lenders over a missed payment of the $1.2billion loan taken from a consortium of 13 Nigerian banks in 2013.