Revealed: Teleology Offered $301m to Win 9mobile Bid

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Emma Okonji
Facts have emerged that Teleology Holdings Limited actually offered to pay $301 million during the bid process for the sale of 9mobile to emerge as the preferred bidder, as against the $500 million that was widely reported.

The public was made to believe that Teleology’s bid price is $500 million and that having paid the $50 million non-refundable deposit, it now has a balance of $450 million to pay, failing which the reserve bidder, Smile Telecoms Holdings, said to have offered a bid price of $300 million will be invited to step-in as the new winner of the bid.

Going by the new revelation, Teleology Holdings Limited, now has a balance of $251 million to pay within 90 days, beginning from March 21, 2018, which was the deadline given it to pay the $50 million non-refundable cash deposit that it had since paid, a day to the deadline.

Reliable sources close to THISDAY disclosed that on April 12, 2018 at the House of Representatives investigative hearing on the collapse of Etisalat now renamed 9mobile, the telecoms industry regulator Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) through its Deputy Director, Legal and Regulatory Services, stated that the NCC was made aware through a letter dated March 29, 2018 from United Capital Trustees that a non-refundable sum of $50 million had been paid by Teleology Holdings and that a balance of $251 million would be paid within 90 days.

Viewed critically, the sum of $301 million is a significant reduction from the earlier touted bid price of $500 million and will be easier for Teleology to pay.
The said sum of $301 million is only $1 million above the quoted price of $300 million that Smile Telecoms Holdings was believed to have offered for 9mobile.

In an apparent quest to sanitise the 9mobile bid process, NCC in a letter, by its Governing Board signed by the Chairman, Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, to the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Mr. Godwin Emefiele, espoused three criteria that would guide the emergence of a preferred bidder for 9mobile.

The first is “that whichever company would qualify as successful bidder to take over 9mobile has the technical competence apart from financial capability to turn round 9mobile and not further compound its problems.”
The second criterion is that the successful bidder should come in with substantial funds (FOREX) to sustain the industry not just recycling funds facilities already within the economy,  while the third required the company that would take over to have adequate technical infrastructure on ground.

NCC’s concern for the sustenance of 9mobile business post sale is hinged on the need for “the continuity of the company for the betterment of the telecom industry, subscribers, labour force and the interest of Nigeria as a whole.”
Re-affirming NCC’s position on 9mobile, the Chief Executive Officer of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, at a recent media parley in Lagos, re-stated that the nation’s telecoms regulator will scrutinise the technical capability and pedigree of the firm recommended as preferred bidder in the sale of 9mobile.