New Generation Communication offers US$2.5 billion for Nitel but China’s Unicom denies involvement

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

It all started so well but the recent announced preferred bidder seems to have been struck down by the curse that seems to affect everything associated with Nitel. New Generation Telecommunications Ltd last week emerged as the preferred bidder for Nigeria's telco incumbent with a bid of $2.5 billion and had named China’s Unicom as part of its consortium. The reserve bidder was announced as Omen International (BVI), which offered US$956 million.

But no sooner was the preferred bidder news made public that China Unicom or its state-run parent Unicom Group has any involvement in a USD2.5 billion bid for struggling incumbent. According to a Reuters reports. ‘There is no involvement of this project from the parent company, the listed company or any subsidiary of the company,’ Unicom spokeswoman Sophia Tso said in a statement. Other companies with an interest in New Generation were named by the BPE as Dubai-based Minerva Group and local company GiCell Wireless.

During the second round of financial bidding, the five qualified bidders namely: Brymedia Consortium, MTN Nigeria Communications Limited, New Generations Communications Consortium (formerly Telefonica), AFZI/Spectrum Consortium and Omen International Limited (BVI) had reviewed their first round bids to $551 million, $25 million (for SAT-3 only), $2.5 billion, $375.5 million and $956,998.091 million , respectively.

In the first round of the bidding exercise, the companies had bid thus: Brymedia Consortuim ($95,000), MTN Nigeria Communications Limited ($25 million for SAT-3), New Generations Communications Consortium ($333,333.33), AFZI/Spectrum Consortium ($200 million without liabilities and $173.333 with liabilities) and Omen International Limited (BVI) ($350 million).

Announcing the outcome of the first round of the bidding the Chairman of the Technical Committee of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP), Dr. Mohammed Hayatu-Deen explained that the NITEL and M-TEL were being sold without any liability. The NCP Technical committee Chairman who was represented by Prof. Taiwo Osipitan also disclosed that all the bidders had accompanied their price offers with its 30 per cent bond.

Daily Champion and Reuters