Telkom SA challenges iBurst sale

24 Aug 2015

Telkom South Africa has filed an objection with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) challenging Multisource’s planned acquisition of South African broadband operator iBurst and its parent company Wireless Business Solutions (WBS). TechCentral reports that Telkom submitted a written comment to ICASA in which it said it is ‘premature’ for the regulator to consider the WBS sale given that there is a public consultation process underway to finalise regulations that will govern the control of ‘individual’ network and service licences. ‘ICASA should defer further consideration of this transaction until after the requisite regulatory framework is in place’, Telkom was cited as saying. Meanwhile, the cellco also raised objections on the transfer of control of WBS’s spectrum licences to Multisource. Telkom pointed out that Multisource/WBS supplied incomplete information when submitting their request for the spectrum transfer, thus preventing ICASA from properly assessing the application, adding: ‘The applicants did not follow the prescribed procedure according to the radio spectrum frequency regulations, as revised in 2015’.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in October 2014 David Hilewitz, director of WBS, confirmed that an unnamed bidder has made a firm offer to acquire the company. Shortly after, Multisource was revealed as the successful bidder, with a due diligence process subsequently completed in February 2015. The internet service provider (ISP) iBurst had previously been linked to acquisition talks with MTN South Africa and Dimension Data; in August 2013 Dimension Data was said to have offered ZAR250 million (USD22.6 million) for the unit, but the bid was rejected.