Liquid Telecom’s R6,5bn acquisition of South African telecommunications operator Neotel is done. The parties finalised the deal on Friday morning.
India’s Tata Communications, which controlled Neotel, and minority shareholders have sold their stake in the company to Liquid Telecom, which now holds 70% of the equity, and Royal Bafokeng Holdings, which owns 30% and serves as the company’s new black economic empowerment partner.
Liquid Telecom, which is controlled by Zimbabwean billionaire Strive Masiyiwa’s Econet Group, has operations in 15 markets across Africa. The Neotel acquisition marks its first significant investment in South Africa.
“Through substantial new capital from Liquid Telecom … a revitalised Neotel will emerge in the South African market with significantly enhanced service offerings for enterprises and consumers,” Liquid said in a statement confirming the conclusion of the transaction.
“Over the coming months, Liquid Telecom plans to make extensive upgrades and expansions to Neotel’s network, delivering greater levels of high-speed connectivity to more customers across South Africa,” it said.
It also plans to make big investments in data centres. Neotel has two tier-3 data centres in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
“For the first time, Neotel’s operations and focus will also become pan-African,” Liquid said in the statement. “Its network in South Africa will link with Liquid Telecom’s extensive fibre footprint to offer access via a single connection to over 40 000km of cross-border, national and metro fibre networks.”
“Today is an important new chapter for Neotel. The refinancing of the company’s balance sheet will see a revitalised Neotel enter the market with the ability to offer consumers and businesses greater quality services and products delivered through world-class networks,” said Liquid Telecom CEO Nic Rudnick. — (c) 2017 NewsCentral Media
- More on this on TechCentral on Sunday