Netcom Buys Rival ISP, Accelon in Nigeria

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

Netcom Africa Limited has acquired rival Internet Service Provider (ISP), Accelon Africa Limited, in a deal sealed at an unconfirmed price as the Internet services sector comes under severe competition from traditional phone companies.

Both parties have concluded the deal that will make Accelon a wholly-owned company of Netcom, Technology Times checks revealed.

South Africa's Dimension Data also made an unsuccessful bid to buy Accelon but was beaten to the purchase by Netcom Africa promoted by Chinese investors.

Ahead of sealing the purchase, when Netcom was asked last month to confirm reports that it was bidding to buy Accelon, the company officially denied holding ongoing talks.

According to Netcom's spokesperson at the time, Lolade Sonubi, "Netcom is always continuously looking for ways to expand and when any of those plans materialise, our partners in the press will be the first to know."

Meanwhile, it has now been established that with the acquisition, which will be announced soon, Netcom which entered the Nigerian communications market in 2003 may be having a firmer foothold.

ISPs have come under pressure from traditional phone companies that now bundle Internet access alongside their basic voice service to survive amid the exponentially growing uptake of the services of GSM operators.

Frontline ISP, Linkserve Limited, had gone the same route to strengthen its foothold in the Internet market a few years ago when it acquired rival company, Infoweb Limited in a N30 million transaction.

According to industry sources, Accelon, which was originally set up with about $28 million is a subsidiary of Accelon Pty, of South Africa was conceived in 2002 by Africa Venture Partner (AVP), a South African investment company.

Accelon which does a major share of its business in the Nigerian market is owned 43 per cent by SCS Global, a major operator of satellites while another 43 per cent is owned by venture capital company, IDC of South Africa. 3 per cent is owned by IDC. The ISP has operations in Nigeria and Ghana.

(Source: This Day)