Kuwaiti mobile group MTC is considering making a bid for Nigerian cellco Vee Networks, according to Reuters. South Africa’s Vodacom and the UK’s Virgin Group are also planning a joint bid for the operator, but all potential suitors must first wait until a complicated legal claim between current shareholders is resolved. ‘We have an interest in Africa in general and in Nigeria in particular,’ an unnamed official told Reuters. When asked if MTC was interested in Vee Networks, which trades under the brand name Vmobile, the MTC official said: ‘Possibly’.
Vee Networks is 60% owned by private investors and 40% by state-controlled investment companies. Its biggest shareholders are First Bank of Nigeria (20.1%), AKIIPOC (18.1%), Broad Communications (13.1%), Delta State Ministry of Finance (10.7%), Ibile Holdings (10.7%) and O&O Networks (10%). The company is currently engaged in an ongoing ownership dispute with Econet Wireless International (EWI), but still requires significant investment, and an equity sale to a major foreign company is expected to take place once all of its legal issues are settled.