Large independent cellular service provider GloCell is in play, TechCentral has learnt from well-placed industry sources.
A number of companies are believed to have expressed an interest in acquiring GloCell, with Allied International Investments, part of the Allied Mobile group of companies, on the verge of securing a controlling stake of roughly 75% of the service provider’s equity, two well-placed sources with knowledge of the situation have said.
Allied Mobile, which was founded in 2003, is a significant shareholder in Virgin Mobile South Africa and a large distributor of mobile handsets in South Africa and the rest of Africa, doing work for big brands such as Samsung, Apple and BlackBerry.
GloCell, which was founded by CEO Alessandro Mariola — and which counts Investec as a major shareholder — recently acquired the Cell C subscriber base belonging to Altron subsidiary Altech Autopage.
The company is a major supplier in South Africa of prepaid mobile products. It’s understood it turns over billions of rand every year from millions of mainly prepaid customers.
Neither party is commenting, but TechCentral understands a deal with Allied will be announced formally within the next few days. It’s not clear if Allied sees synergies between GloCell and Virgin Mobile, with the latter having mainly a post-paid base.
News of the impending deal with GloCell comes just six months after Allied Mobile secured a debt funding facility worth R800m from South Africa’s Public Investment Corp (PIC).
At the time of the PIC deal, Allied Group CEO Jacqueline Cole-Courtney said the cash injection would be used to facilitate the company’s growth in South Africa as well as elsewhere in Africa.
Cole-Courtney had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.
GloCell issued a brief statement late on Thursday saying that it is in “ongoing discussions with various companies on growing its business, expanding its operations and improving its offering”.
“As no transaction has been concluded with any party, we cannot comment on speculation about these discussions but will share news once there are concrete developments.” — © 2016 NewsCentral Media