Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

Citizens Investments, a local company, will know this Monday whether it has acquired 50.01 per cent in Mascom Wireless. The company has met all the requirements and was one of five firms, including South Africa’s Vodacom, that in February bid for the acquisition of the Mascom-shares owned by Portugal Telecom.

Although Citizens Investments and Portugal Telecom announced recently that they have reached an agreement whereby the former will acquire the latter’s entire stake in Mascom, the transfer is subject to certain conditions.

In addition to regulatory approval from Botswana Telecommunications Authority (BTA), the minority shareholders, DECI holding 30 per cent and TS Masiyiwa Holdings with 19.99 per cent, have 30 days to exercise their rights of first refusal. That period commenced on July 17 and ends on August 18.

The two companies will have to have raised a total of P328 million, being P250 million for the Portugal Telecom stake and P71 million for liabilities.

Meanwhile, Thato Mokobi of Optimum McCann-Erikson, advertising agents for Citizens Investments, has disclosed that TS Masiyiwa Holdings did not bid for the Portugal Telecom shares, contrary to an article published in the Botswana Daily News of August 8 quoting the Zimbabwe Daily News.

He suspects the article, published on the Internet under the headline, "Portugal Telecom accepts TS Masiyiwa’s buyout bid", was deliberately planted to enhance the company’s performance on the stock exchange.

"Econet’s share price on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange has climbed 500 per cent in the three weeks since the proposed acquisition was officially announced," says the article. TS Masiyiwa Holdings is a major investor in Econet of Zimbabwe.

The Zimbabwean daily has since published a rebuttal confirming the bid for the 50 per cent shareholding in Mascom was not made by TS Masiyiwa Holdings but by Citizens Investments. "If the move was, indeed, deliberate, in Botswana they would not have gotten away with it," Mokobi said.

Citizens Investments, wholly citizen-owned by Gaborone businessman Kagiso Mmusi and private attorney Rizwan Desai, is confident of raising the required P328 million as it has the backing of Barclays PLC in London, UK.