There are indications that Teleology, the winner of the 9mobile bid is making proposals to some powerful Nigerian politicians and business moguls to complete the acquisition of the embattled network.
Teleology Holdings Limited recently became the preferred winner of a reportedly controversial bid for 9mobile, formerly Etisalat. 9mobile has been in debt crisis since last year.
According to DAILY INDEPENDENT, a source said that the preferred bidder, Teleology Holdings Limited, was only using Adrian Wood, a former chief executive officer of MTN Nigeria who helped built the Nigerian arm of the South African telecoms group into the largest mobile phone operator in Nigeria, with a 36.1 percent market share as a front.
The company, the source said, as a special purpose vehicle (SPV), was formed by Adrian Wood, some wealthy Nigerians, and foreign stakeholders in collaboration with Ericsson.
“This is not the first time Adrian Wood would be used as a stand-in to bid for a Nigerian business.
“When the defunct national carrier, Nigeria Telecommunications Limited (NITEL), was put up for sale, Adrian Wood was behind one of the companies, Brymedia West Africa Limited, bidding for it.
“The difference is that the company was operating under a different name and not Teleology.
“I guess it was because of these powerful people behind the Adrian Wood-led Teleology that the $50 million payment date of the preferred winner of the bid was altered.
“To my understanding, the company ought to have paid the 10 percent of the $500 million immediately it emerged as winner, but as it stands today, a three-week deadline had been given to Teleology to pay”, he said.
Also speaking on the development, a stakeholder in the industry, who preferred anonymity, doubted if the plan to acquire 9mobile would see the light of the day.
He said the huge issue of debt would be a major challenge for any investor that succeeds in acquiring the network.
“I think it is too early to think that 9mobile has been acquired.
“As an industry insider, we all know how hard it took for NITEL to be bought. There were back and forth activities before it was eventually acquired.
“Up till now, nothing much has been achieved by the new owners.
“I can tell you that the sale of 9mobile will not be easily completed as some people think.
“The reason is largely due to the debt issue. More so, the industry’s market is getting tougher by the day because of the economic situation in the country”, the stakeholders noted.
Investors Persuades Three Other Nigerians
Aside the board members of Teleology, who are all out to contribute to the realisation of the acquisition financially, three Nigerians are purportedly being persuaded to be major investors in Teleology’s acquisition and operations of 9mobile.
They are Donald Duke, former governor of Cross River State; Muhammadu Sanusi II, former governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), now the 14th Emir of Kano.
The third person – according to the source – is business mogul, Chief Oscar Udoji, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Solgas Petroleum and Udoji United Football Club.
Udoji also served as the National Chairman for the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the political party which finished as runners-up in the 2011 presidential elections with President Muhammadu Buhari, its presidential candidate then.
DAILY INDEPENDENT gathered that the trio has been approached for investment but that there had been no concrete agreements and compromise over the proposals between them and Teleology which had put up a Plan B should the potential Nigerian investors so far approached remain undecided for too long.
Efforts are said to have been made for offshore funding of the business with some foreign banks from the Middle East factored into the acquisition deal.