Neotel said to have attracted two bids; GloCell, Allied Mobile in acquisition talks

13 May 2016

South African telecoms operator Neotel has reportedly attracted two takeover bids – from submarine cable provider Seacom and Econet Wireless, the parent of pan-African fibre-optic provider Liquid Telecom – following the collapse of its merger talks with market leader Vodacom earlier this year, MyBroadband writes. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in late February the High Court in Pretoria ruled against Vodacom’s acquisition of Neotel’s spectrum and licences, and subsequently the two sides decided to call off the takeover. Neotel’s parent Tata Communications of India subsequently revealed in March that it was looking for a new buyer for its South African subsidiary, with CEO Vinod Kumar disclosing: ‘We were in talks with Vodacom, as there was no other potential buyer with which we were committed … However, many market participants have expressed an interest and now the time has come for us to explore these options.’

In related news, a number of companies are believed to have expressed an interest in acquiring independent South African mobile service provider GloCell, with Allied International Investments (part of Allied Mobile group of companies) reportedly close to securing a controlling stake of roughly 75% of the GloCell’s equity, TechCentral writes citing two well-placed sources with knowledge of the situation. GloCell – which is a major supplier of pre-paid mobile products – recently acquired Cell C’s subscriber base from Altron subsidiary Altech Autopage. Allied Mobile, meanwhile, is a shareholder in Virgin Mobile South Africa. In a press release, GloCell said that it is in ‘ongoing discussions with various companies on growing its business’, adding that it will ‘share news once there are concrete developments.’