Smile Telecoms Holdings Limited has decried the manner in which Barclays Africa, the financial adviser handling the sale of 9mobile, has so far managed the transaction and called for a process review to uphold transparency.
Smile’s reservation was contained in a letter addressed to Barclays Africa dated February 21, 2018 and signed by Templars, the company’s solicitors.
In the two-page letter, Smile expressed surprise and disappointment at the manner in which the selection process for a bidder was conducted.
The company therefore requested Barclays, to as a matter of fairness and urgency, provide a practicable with verifiable (and preferably third-party authenticated) proof that the selection process was fair.
However, in its reply of February 26, 2018 Barclays Africa promised to “be in touch with Smile to discuss any updates on the transaction, to the extent considered necessary”.
It expressed gratitude for Smile’s continued interest in the transaction but noted that its clients exercised their rights at their sole discretion to pursue an alternative path to completion of the transaction. Barclays restated its willingness to explore transaction completion with Smile should the pending process not reach a satisfactory conclusion.
A source informed that the laid down requirements for the transactions required Barclays to reach agreement on any required financial accommodations with the Syndicate Lenders and the Trade Creditors.
The requirement also entails the bidder to have firm, unconditional and committed funding for any cash payments and to provide a binding offer that is unconditional, excluding the Formal Licence Approvals.
It would be recalled that the nation’s telecoms regulator Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has reassured that only investors with the required technical expertise and financial muscle will buy 9Mobile.
A statement signed by the Director, Public Affairs, NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo, stated that the Commission will ensure that all relevant statutory and regulatory processes are duly complied with in the process leading up to the emergence of new owners for the company.
NCC’s intervention came on the heels of reports that Teleology Holding has emerged the preferred bidder for 9Mobile.