Digicel eyes stake in Lap Green – Rumour denied

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

A rumour went round this week that Digicel in consortium with other investors was going to buy Lap Green Networks. The rumour was later denied by the Libyan investment agency but is worth repeating as it gives an indication of interest as the country opens up to new investment. Irish businessman Denis O'Brien appears to have set his sights on Africa and is planning to bid for a majority stake in Libya's Lap Green Networks, the Irish Times reported.

According to the daily, O'Brien's Digicel mobile group is part of a consortium proposing to pay USD 270 million for a majority stake in Lap Green, a company owned by a Libyan state investment fund with telecom holdings throughout Africa. There was no comment from Digicel but informed sources confirmed to Irish Times the company's involvement in the consortium. Centamon, a company controlled by British consultancy Levant Group, and Demco, a Greek investment company, reportedly bought 65 percent in Lap Green and asked Digicel to run the business. It is not clear what size of equity participation Digicel would have in the business. The deal is subject to approval from the UN Security Council and the European Union.

A report in the Times newspaper cited documents that suggested the takeover agreement was signed on 8 August, just two weeks before the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime. It added that the deal had been given the green light by the National Transitional Council of Libya and would proceed. Lap Green was incorporated in February 2007 to invest in communications and technology. It started with a licence in Uganda and has since spread its operations into Rwanda, Niger, Ivory Coast, southern Sudan, Zambia, Togo, Sierra Leone and Chad.