ICASA clarifies position on mergers, acquisitions in South Africa

4 Jun 2014

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has clarified that, although it has been made aware of a number of potential mergers and acquisitions in the local telecoms sector, none of the companies involved have formally presented their deals for review. The watchdog named three of the major deals in question as: Vodacom‘s acquisition of Neotel, a mobile network-sharing deal between MTN and Telkom, and Telkom‘s acquisition of Business Connexion.

According to an ICASA press release, although it is aware which of the agreements have been presented to the Competition Commission (CompCom), ‘that in no way negates the regulatory approvals required from ICASA’. The watchdog notes that it intends to make a detailed comment on all of the aforementioned deals as soon as it has been presented with the terms and conditions agreed by the various licensees.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in March 2014 Telkom signed an agreement with rival MTN South Africa, under which the latter will take over the deployment and operation of Telkom’s radio access network (RAN), although both companies will ‘retain and enhance [their] competitive differentiation and flexibility’. Further, in May 2014 Telkom proposed to buy technology company Business Connexion for ZAR2.7 billion (USD250.84 million) and delist it from the Johannesburg bourse. For its part, in May 2014 Vodacom announced that it was set to buy the country’s second national operator (SNO) Neotel for ZAR7 billion, with the deal expected to close before the end of FY2015 (ending 31 March 2015).