According to widespread local press speculation, South African telecoms giants Vodacom and MTN are in separate discussions to acquire a controlling stake in second national operator (SNO) Neotel. Citing a ‘well placed industry source’ BusinessTech.co.za reports that both companies are at an advanced stage of negotiations, and says that a deal is ‘definitely possible’. A third interested party, Dimension Data, is thought to have dropped out of the running after expressing an initial interest in acquiring the SNO. However, Tech Central quotes Tata Communications company spokesman Rozzyn Boy as saying: ‘We don’t have any plans to sell Neotel. I have seen the rumours that are circulating, but those are only rumours and we won’t comment on them’.
Neotel’s current shareholders are Tata Communications (68.5%), Nexus Connection (19%) and Communitel (12.5%).