Econet takeover to go to court as shareholders clash heads

16 Sep 2003

The proposed takeover of Nigerian GSM provider Econet Wireless by South African cellco Vodacom is in the hands of the Lagos Federal High Court after Econet’s parent company requested intervention in the sale. Econet Wireless of Zimbabwe is requesting an injunction to prevent its fellow shareholders accepting a bid for 51% of its Nigerian subsidiary from Vodacom. It is also asking the court to prevent directors and shareholders of Econet Wireless (Nigeria) from changing the cellco’s management team as it seeks to retain control of the country’s second largest mobile operator. At the end of 2002 Econet had 775,000 subscribers, equal to a 44.5% share of the market, making it the main competitor to MTN Nigeria, which serviced 51% of mobile users at the same date. The court has adjourned the case until 17 September to allow the defendants to file their preliminary objection to the suit.