Nigeria: Capcom merger thrown into doubt by regulator’s warning

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

The merger of Nigeria's CDMA networks could be thrown into doubt after the telecoms regulator expressed concerns at how long the process is taking, and said that it might revoke its approval.

Just over a year ago, in November 2012, the investment firm, Capcom said that it would merge its MTS and Multi-Links operations with rival CDMA network, Starcomms to form a larger and stronger single company.

Capcom was due to end up with 90.5% of the merged company but has reportedly struggled to complete the deal.

The NCC's Executive Vice-Chairman, Dr. Eugene Juwah warned that the "NCC has the mandate as a regulator to withdraw the approval in principle, if it discovers that Capcom can no longer conclude the transaction it started since 2012 to acquire Starcomms and merge it with MultiLinks and MTS First Wireless."

With the benefit of the 20MHz of contiguous 1900MHz spectrum to be held by the consolidated operations, Starcomms had been expected to migrate its network over to LTE services.

Quite what is holding up completion of the deal is unclear, although it is understood to be a delay at the Starcomms side of the business.

"If we are certain that Capcom cannot continue with the transaction, then we as a regulator, will be willing to give licence to any other interested company that has the capacity to buy the companies and run them effectively," Juwah added.