Finally, Teleology takes over 9mobile, Appoints New Board

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Emma Okonji

Teleology has finally received approval to take full ownership of 9mobile, 10 months after Barclays Africa, the financial adviser handling the sale of the telecoms, announced Teleology Holdings as the preferred bidder and Smile Telecoms Holdings as the reserve bidder.

Despite the announcement by Barclays Africa and the subsequent transmission of letters of notification to both the preferred bidder and the reserve bidder since February 21, 2018, Teleology could not take over 9mobile because it was yet to get the letter of ‘No Objection’ from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms industry regulator.

The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, had said NCC needed to conduct due diligence on Teleology Holdings to ascertain its technical competence in managing 9mobile.

He, however, said the due diligence had been conducted and the report submitted to the NCC board, but that the board was yet to decide on a position statement, based on the findings of the report.

THISDAY gathered that NCC had concluded on the 9mobile deal and had transmitted a letter of ‘No Objection’ to Teleology, the basis on which Teleology had to quickly appoint a new Board of Directors for 9mobile, having received the NCC nod to take full control of 9mobile. The announcement of the new board also coincided with the completion of the tenure of the former board.

When contacted on phone, the Director, Public Affairs at NCC, Mr. Nnamdi Nwokike, did not respond to his phone calls and text messages. THISDAY later gathered that he was out of the country on official assignment.

Teleology in a statement yesterday, said it was pleased to announce the constitution of a new Board of Directors for 9mobile, following the successful completion of the tenure of the former board appointed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and in fulfillment of the consequential transfer of final ownership to the new investors, Teleology Nigeria Limited.

The seven-man Board of Directors include Chairman, Mr. Nasiru Ado Bayero; non-Executive Directors, Mr. Asega Aliga, Mr. Adrian Wood, Mr. Mohammed Edewor, and Mr. Winston Udeh; and Executive Director, Mr. Abdurrahman Ado. Ms. Stephane Beuvelet was appointed acting Managing Director.

According to the statement, which was signed by one of the newly appointed members of the board, Edewor, the telecoms said, “We thank all out-going members of the board for helping to shepherd 9mobile through the critical transition phase it has passed through since July 2017 and wish them the very best in their future assignments.

“For us, the composition of the new Board of Directors is another significant milestone, and this follows the issuance of final approval of no objection by the Board of the NCC to the effect that the technical and financial bids Teleology submitted for 9mobile met and satisfied all the regulatory requirements. This is indeed the dawn of a new era in the evolution of the 9mobile brand in the Nigerian market.”

The new chairman, Bayero, welcomed the appointment, stating, “As we begin this new epochal phase, we wish to thank all the employees who built this viable business. Our debt of gratitude also goes to our subscribers even as we assure them to get ready for real best-in-class additional value for their relationship with the 9mobile brand. Without you, there could not have been a 9mobile business for us to invest in today. We will justify your confidence in our brand by making significant investments that will improve the value you get for using 9mobile.”

The CBN in collaboration with the NCC had in July 2017 appointed a board chaired by Dr. Joseph Nnanna, the Deputy Governor of the bank, to oversee the affairs of the company pending the completion of regulatory due diligence of the bid documents submitted by Teleology and 16 others for its acquisition. The bid process was superintended by Barclays Africa.

But with the emergence of the board, the long process for the acquisition of 9mobile has reached a definitive end, marking the beginning of a new era for the telecommunication company.