The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) has abandoned its planned sale of a stake in Johannesburg-based telecoms provider Vodacom Group to a consortium including former Vodacom executive Romeo Kumalo, according to two people familiar with the situation. TechCentral reports that the proposed sale would have boosted Vodacom’s black shareholding from its current level of 18.7%, which in turn would have improved Vodacom’s chances of securing LTE-suitable spectrum in the 700MHz, 800MHz and 2600MHz bands in the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa’s (ICASA’s) forthcoming frequency auction. Companies need to up their black ownership to 30% in order to place a bid, according to auction rules published by the regulator.
TeleGeography notes that Vodacom Group is owned by UK-based mobile giant Vodafone Group (65.0%) and the PIC (15.4%); the remainder of 19.6% is distributed. In July 2015 the South African government sold its 13.9% stake in the Johannesburg-based operator to PIC, in order to help fund a ZAR23 billion (USD219 million) allocation to struggling domestic electricity supplier Eskom.