France Telecom ups stake in Botswana unit, reports says
France Telecom has increased its stake in Orange Botswana to 69%, in a deal that saw a consortium of local investors sell around a 20% stake in the cellco to the French telecoms group, Batswana newspaper Sunday Standard reports. ‘We offloaded 20% of the company’s share and now we are left with 26% in Orange,’ Satar Dada, one of the investors in Mosokelatsebeng Cellular, a consortium of Batswana investors, told the paper. Dada revealed that the transaction was effected in December 2009, although he did not disclose the value of the deal. The report adds that the move was aimed at pre-empting a takeover offer from an unnamed South African mobile operator seeking to enter the market in Botswana. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Orange Botswana launched mobile services as Vista Cellular in June 1998. It was rebranded under the Orange banner in March 2003, following the acquisition of a 51% stake in Vista by France Telecom. At the end of March 2010 the cellco reported a mobile subscriber base of 791,000, placing it second in the market behind Mascom Wireless (1.22 million) and ahead of BTC Mobile (350,000).