The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says the successful buyer of 9mobile will not be announced on January 16.
Instead, January 16 is the deadline for all shortlisted bidders to submit their proposals to Barclays Africa, the transaction advisers.
Barclays will then make a recommendation to the interim board of 9mobile, after which the winner will apply to NCC for the final stage in the process.
All these were revealed in a statement signed by Tony Ojobo, NCC spokesman, and shared with TheCable.
The commission denied the existence of a preferred bidder.
The deadline of the bidding process was previously set for December 31, 2017 but was extended to January 16, as reported by TheCable.
“Our attention has been drawn to newspaper publications alleging that a preferred bidder has been anointed to acquire 9Mobile and otherwise speculating on the outcome of the ownership transfer process,” he said.
“Barclays Africa remains in full control of the process leading to the emergence of a new owner for the company. Barclays has not authorized any publication on the matter and is obliged to maintain full confidentiality thereon.
“An approval of the request for extension of time by the 9Mobile Interim Board was given by the 2 regulators – NCC and CBN. This set the deadline for the receipt of binding offers from the prospective bidders till 16th January 2018.
“Contrary to speculations that a ‘winner’ will be announced on the same day (i.e. 16th of January 2018) we wish to clarify that Barclays is expected to review the bids received by the deadline and to make recommendations to the 9Mobile Interim Board thereafter.”
After these processes, NCC says the interim board of 9mobile will then notify CBN and NCC of the winning bid.
“The NCC and CBN will be duly notified once the 9Mobile Interim Board accepts Barclays’ recommendations and a winning bid is determined in accordance with the terms of the exercise.
“The winner will now apply to NCC in order to commence the processes for securing the regulatory approvals from the Board of the NCC necessary to give full effect to the transfer.
“We trust that the foregoing sufficiently clarifies the position of the transaction and that it lays to rest any apprehensions regarding the unfounded media publications on the sale.”
In December, TheCable reported that the top five bidders who made it to the next stage of the bid are Airtel, Globacom, Smile, Helios, and Teleology Holdings Limited, promoted by Adrian Wood, the pioneer CEO of MTN Nigeria.
The company formerly known as Etisalat Nigeria was taken over in July 2017 after it defaulted on a N541 billion debt.
Mubadala Group, the major investor from the United Arab Emirates, pulled out of Nigeria’s fourth largest mobile operator as a result of the debt owed to a consortium of 13 banks.
Copyright 2018 TheCable. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.thecable.ng as the source.