Only two out of the five shortlisted bidders have submitted a financial offer for Nigerian wireless operator 9mobile, which was known as Etisalat Nigeria until July 2017, according to a report by TheCable. Five companies were shortlisted to participate in the bidding process – Bharti Airtel, Smile Telecoms Holdings, Globacom, investment firm Helios Investment Partners and Teleology Holdings Limited – but only Teleology and pan-African LTE operator Smile reportedly made final offers for the cellco by the 16 January deadline.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, the lenders of 9mobile have hired Barclays to find new investors for the country’s fourth largest cellco by subscribers. Then known as Etisalat Nigeria, the firm defaulted on a USD1.2 billion loan with a consortium of 13 local banks last year. Etisalat Group of the United Arab Emirates handed over its 45% stake to the security trustee of the firm’s lenders and terminated its existing management and technical support agreements with the cellco. Lenders have delayed taking provisions on the debt and agreed to extend the loan pending the sale to new investors.