Angolan interest in buying NetOne

4 Oct 2011

The Zimbabwe Independent has reported that Angolan businesswoman Isabel dos Santos has met with Zimbabwean government officials with a view to buying a controlling stake in state-owned cellular network operator NetOne. Dos Santos, the daughter of Angola’s President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, owns stakes in telecoms, finance, energy, media, mining, construction and retail, and according to the report is carrying out due diligence on NetOne. South Africa’s MTN Group has been linked to a possible purchase of a stake in NetOne, but it is not clear if the deal is still on the cards. The possible entry of MTN has met with resistance from parts of Zimbabwe’s power-sharing government, including the finance minister Tendai Biti who expressed preference for recapitalising NetOne by other means. Dos Santos holds a stake in Angolan cellco Unitel through the 25% share owned by local group Geni, and also has shares in Portugal’s Zon Multimedia and Portugal Telecom (which is also a 25% owner of Unitel).

Zimbabwe, NetOne