South African telecoms regulator the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has reportedly approved the takeover of South African telecoms operator Neotel by Pan-African fibre-optic provider Liquid Telecom (majority-owned by Econet Wireless), TechCentral writes citing well-placed sources with the knowledge of the situation. The development comes hot on the heels of the announcement that Liquid secured USD300 million in funding last month to support its expansion plans in Africa, including the ongoing acquisitions in South Africa, Botswana and Tanzania.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Liquid agreed to acquire the controlling stake in Neotel from Tata Communications and Nexus Connexion-led minority shareholders for ZAR6.55 billion (USD430.8 million) in June 2016. Liquid Telecom is partnering with investment group Royal Bafokeng Holdings (RBH), which has agreed to take a 30% equity stake in Neotel. Liquid said in a press release: ‘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.’