Communications regulator Icasa has approved the transfer of control of the service and spectrum licences from iBurst and Broadlink parent Wireless Business Solutions (WBS) to Multisource, a company backed by former top bankers Michael Jordaan and Paul Harris.
The approval comes despite an objection lodged by WBS rival Telkom, which had sought to block the deal on procedural grounds. Icasa said it approved the application as it “met the applicable regulatory requirements”.
Telkom filed an objection to Icasa in August, taking issue with the transfer of control of the WBS licences. It said, among other things, that it was “premature” for the regulator to consider the WBS sale given that there was a public consultation process underway to finalise regulations that would govern the control of “individual” network and service licences.
WBS will remain the licence holder of all licences issued to it by Icasa.
“The authority followed a public process in consideration of the application, which allowed interested parties to comment on the transaction… Following this process and the analysis of all relevant information, Icasa approved the application,” Icasa said.
TechCentral reported in February that WBS had undergone a successful due diligence by Multisource.
WBS has access to valuable radio frequency spectrum that could be used to build a national wireless broadband network. In particular, it has access to spectrum in the 1,8GHz band that is ideally suited to building next-generation wireless broadband networks using 4G/LTE technology.
TechCentral broke the news in October 2014 that Multisource, a company which was once listed on the JSE, had made an offer to buy the company.
At the time, chairman and shareholder Phumlani Moholi confirmed that Multisource had made an offer to buy WBS, but cautioned that it was subject to a financial and technical due diligence.
The value of the proposed acquisition, which has already been approved unconditionally by the competition authorities, has not been disclosed. The acquisition will become effective 3 November.
WBS shareholders include Blue Label Telecoms co-CEOs Brett and Mark Levy, the Development Bank of Southern Africa, Investec and the Public Investment Corp.
InstituteX, an investment company founded by Harris, Moholi and technology entrepreneur Brandon Leigh, acquired a 66% stake in Multisource back in 2010. Leigh is the former head of Leaf Wireless, the company that distributed HTC products in South Africa until 2012. – © 2015 NewsCentral Media