Dimension Data is looking for a buyer for its Mweb Internet service provider business and has appointed Standard Bank to lead the sale process, TechCentral has learnt from an impeccable source.
The plan to sell the ISP and its customer base comes less than four years after Dimension Data, which is owned by Japan’s NTT, acquired 100% control of Mweb from MultiChoice Group – which at the time was owned by Naspers – in a deal reported then to be worth about R130-million.
Dimension Data declined to comment when reached for comment on Thursday. It’s not known how much the company hopes to raise through the sale.
TechCentral understands that it has approached several potential suitors, seeking a deal that would keep Mweb users’ data traffic on Dimension Data’s network infrastructure.
Vodacom, MTN and several ISPs have been excluded from taking part in the discussions as these companies would likely want to move the Mweb client base onto their own network platforms.
Mweb was one of South Africa’s first consumer ISPs, founded 1997. It later pioneered uncapped ADSL access.
Dimension Data’s history with Mweb goes back to at least 2014, when Internet Solutions bought Mweb Business as well as the core assets of the Mweb ISP business and Optinet. (At the same time, the parties announced a new joint venture called WirelessCo — later renamed Vast Networks — to build and operate an open-access, carrier-grade Wi-Fi network. Vast Networks was closed in 2019.)
The decision to put Mweb up for sale is probably not surprising, given that Dimension Data last year went through a major strategic shake-up, which introduced a new go-to-market strategy that saw longstanding brands such as Internet Solutions and Britehouse folded into the Dimension Data mothership.
At the time of the restructuring announcement, in March 2020, Dimension Data CEO Grant Bodley said the group was still “crystallising” the strategy around Mweb. He said then that the Mweb brand would remain, albeit “someone separate to the core enterprise business”, at least until the strategy became clearer. — © 2021 NewsCentral Media