Pan-African telecoms group, Liquid Telecom has received approval from the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) for the acquisition of South African communications network operator Neotel. The ZAR 6.55 billion acquisition follows approval from South Africa’s Competition Commission in October 2016.
Under this acquisition, Liquid Telecom’s partner, South African investment group Royal Bafokeng Holdings (RBH), will own a 30% stake in Neotel.
According to Liquid Telecom, the combined network assets and service platforms will give it unrivaled reach and expansion across Eastern, Central and Southern Africa.
“We are delighted to have received regulatory approval to complete this transaction. The combined companies will create an unparalleled footprint covering key markets across the continent, giving Liquid Telecom a significant competitive advantage through the breadth, depth, and flexibility of our consolidated networks. We will be able to offer African companies the highest quality and most extensive connectivity on the continent. We appreciate the efficiency with which this transaction was dealt with by both ICASA and the Competition Commission.” Nic Rudnick, Group CEO of Liquid Telecom, said.
Liquid Telecom expansion to other parts of Africa will also enable it to offer access via a single connection to over 40,000km of cross-border, national and metro fibre networks across 12 countries.
“Our decision to partner with Liquid Telecom and Neotel is in-line with our diversification strategy which seeks to invest in high growth sectors. Together, we are well positioned to expand through telecommunications infrastructure and services sector in other key markets beyond South Africa.” Albertinah Kekana, CEO of RBH, said.
Speaking on behalf of Neotel, Non-Executive Director in Charge, Kennedy Memani, said Leveraging the strengths of Liquid Telecom, Neotel’s staff and customers will benefit from the stability, planned expansion and increased investments into the business. This will enable Neotel to reach its full potential in South Africa and across the African continent.”
Liquid Telecom will invest in Neotel’s products and services in order to support the rising demand for network services in South Africa and other African countries. Neotel will also benefit from Liquid Telecom’s pan-African experience and technology leadership, helping to enhance systems and processes across its operations as well as drive profitability.
The transaction will transform Liquid Telecom’s presence in South Africa, where Liquid Telecom’s growing base of corporate and enterprise customers will benefit from Neotel’s extended services portfolio and advanced network reach.
The deal for Neotel continues a period of accelerated growth for Liquid Telecom, which has combined strategic acquisitions, such as the recent joint venture in Botswana and the acquisition of Tanzania’s leading ISP Raha, with ongoing investment in the rollout of fibre.
The transaction provides a scalable platform for further long-term growth, enabling Liquid Telecom to deliver on its vision of a more connected Africa. The financial closure of the deal is expected to occur during the first quarter of 2017