Vast Networks liquidation: 'No one wanted to sign on the dotted line' - TechCentral

Vast Networks liquidation: ‘No one wanted to sign on the dotted line’

MultiChoice Group CEO Calvo Mawela

MultiChoice Group and Dimension Data decided to liquidate Vast Networks, South Africa’s largest public Wi-Fi hotspot provider, after several attempts to sell the business fell through.

The two companies, which owned 100% of Vast’s equity — MultiChoice had 48% and Dimension Data 52% — were close to signing sale agreements on several occasions, but each time they fell through at the last moment. They had been exploring a sale for about 18 months.

MultiChoice Group CEO Calvo Mawela said in an interview with TechCentral this week that Vast Networks was no longer a strategic fit for the pay-television broadcaster.

“Lots of discussions happened between us and potential buyers,” he said. “We went through this a number of people. Eventually, we decided we could keep going through the same discussions” only for them to fail to reach fruition at the last moment.

“When we thought we were about to sign, it didn’t happen because of one or two things,” he said, without elaborating. In the end, MultiChoice and Dimension Data “both agreed — let’s rather just liquidate the business”.

Bloomberg News reported in January that fibre-optic infrastructure company Link Africa had previously discussed buying Vast Networks for R450-million.

“No agreement could be concluded, and the board is satisfied that all alternative options have now been exhausted,” a spokesman for Vast told Bloomberg last month. “Despite all our efforts, a sustainable and profitable business model could not be established, and the company continued to incur monthly trading losses almost from its inception.”  — (c) 2019 Bloomberg LP

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