Pan-African fibre-optic provider Liquid Telecom – majority-owned by Econet Wireless – has agreed to acquire a controlling stake in South African telecoms operator Neotel from controlling shareholder Tata Communications and Nexus Connexion-led minority shareholders for ZAR6.55 billion (USD430.8 million). Liquid Telecom is partnering with investment group Royal Bafokeng Holdings (RBH), which has agreed to take a 30% equity stake in Neotel. The deal is subject to approval by the South African regulatory authorities and is expected to be completed later this year. Liquid Telecom was advised by The Standard Bank of South Africa Limited, which acted as lead advisor, mandated lead arranger and global coordinator, and UBS. ‘The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals, is transformative and will create the largest pan-African broadband network … Through a single access point, businesses across Africa will be able to access 40,000km of cross-border, metro and access fibre networks. These currently span twelve countries from South Africa to Kenya, with further expansion planned,’ Liquid said in a press release.