Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman, NCC

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has confirmed the emergence of five bidders to take over 9Mobile, formerly Etisalat Nigeria.

Professor Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice-Chairman of NCC who confirmed the development named the bidders as Smile Communications, Helios, Globacom, Airtel and Teleology Holdings Limited.

Danbatta said in a statement: “Five bidders have emerged for 9Mobile. They have been allowed to access the data room of 9Mobile in order to enable them access the financial situation of the company and subsequently make bids for the takeover of the company. But the takeover must be in a regulated manner. The CBN and NCC are supervising what is going on through an interim board jointly appointed by the NCC and CBN. We are going to do due diligence on the financial capacity of any potential bidder as well as the technical capacity. In the final analysis, we will like to see a 9Mobile taken over by a bidder who has the financial and technical capacity to improve on the operations of the telco and add value in delivery of qualitative telecom services in the country.”

The crisis in the then Etisalat Nigeria, now 9Mobile emanated from the inability of the company to repay a $1.2 billion loan it sourced from 13 Nigerian banks for purposes of network expansion.