The deal is off! Vodacom will no longer acquire Neotel.
“Vodacom announces that its proposed acquisition of the majority of Neotel’s assets related to its fixed-line business has lapsed due to regulatory complexities and certain conditions not being fulfilled,” Vodacom said on Tuesday.
“Vodacom and Neotel have agreed that the proposed restructured transaction, announced on 8 December 2015, can no longer be progressed.”
The news is likely to raise questions about Neotel’s future, which has been without a full-time leader since the departure last year of CEO Sunil Joshi, who had been suspended pending an investigation into a reportedly dodgy deal with Transnet.
With Neotel’s largest shareholder, India’s Tata Communications, having apparently lost interest in retaining a stake in Neotel, questions will now flow about the company’s future.
The deal with Vodacom has faced hurdles from the start, with competitors objecting strenuously to the mobile operator acquiring Neotel’s radio frequency spectrum assets in particular.
Vodacom first proposed acquiring Neotel almost two years ago.
“In May 2014, Vodacom first announced its bid to combine its assets and skills with Neotel to accelerate the roll-out of fibre-based services to customers and acquire, inter alia, Neotel’s licences and spectrum,” Vodacom said.
“In the subsequent envisaged restructured transaction, Neotel’s licences and spectrum were to be excluded from the transaction and Vodacom was looking to acquire the assets, customer base and staff of the company. The spectrum was to be offered by Neotel to all network operators through roaming arrangements.”
Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub said in a statement: “It is disappointing that we have reached this conclusion despite all our efforts to find a way to deal with the complexities of the restructured transaction. Our ambition to increase the roll-out of fibre-based broadband services to customers remains. We will continue to look for spectrum opportunities, as well as opportunities to accelerate our fixed-line business.” — (c) 2016 NewsCentral Media