The South African government is reportedly looking into selling its 13.9% stake in telecoms operator Vodacom South Africa, which is estimated to be worth ZAR28 billion (USD2.44 billion), in a bid to raise much needed funds to address the country’s power crisis, Bloomberg reports. According to two people with knowledge of the situation, however, Vodacom’s majority owner Vodafone Group – which has a 65% stake in the South African telco – is allegedly reluctant to increase its shareholding, as it is reportedly comfortable with its current share.
Meanwhile, another state holding – a 39.8% share in fixed line operator Telkom SA – is reportedly less likely to go under the hammer, as it may face tougher opposition from trade unions. Three people familiar with the negotiations have disclosed that South African mobile operator MTN is reportedly eager to acquire a stake in Telkom, although such a transaction is likely to attract the scrutiny of the country’s antitrust regulators. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Telkom and MTN signed an agreement in March 2014, under which the latter will take over the deployment and operation of Telkom’s radio access network (RAN), although both companies would ‘retain and enhance [their] competitive differentiation and flexibility’. The agreement however is yet to be finalised.