Pan-African telecoms operator Liquid Telecom has finalised the ZAR6.5 billion (USD484 million) acquisition of South African SNO Neotel from India’s Tata Communications. Liquid Telecom now holds 70% of the equity, while black economic empowerment partner Royal Bafokeng Holdings owns 30%. Liquid Telecom – which is controlled by South Africa-based Econet Group – said in a press release: ‘Through substantial new capital from Liquid Telecom … a revitalised Neotel will emerge in the South African market with significantly enhanced service offerings for enterprises and consumers.’ The company added that over the coming months it plans to make extensive upgrades and expansions to Neotel’s network, delivering greater levels of high-speed connectivity to more customers across South Africa: ‘For the first time, Neotel’s operations and focus will also become pan-African … Its network in South Africa will link with Liquid Telecom’s extensive fibre footprint to offer access via a single connection to over 40,000km of cross-border, national and metro fibre networks.’ Shortly after the announcement, Neotel unveiled its new brand ‘Neotel Liquid Telecom’.
Meanwhile, Liquid Telecom CEO Nic Rudnick was cited as saying that the company is likely to list its shares on the stock market, following the completion of Neotel’s acquisition. ‘A possible listing would be very likely,’ the executive said in an interview, adding: ‘At the moment we are focused on the integration of the acquisition and making it a success.’