Details of MTN Nigeria’s acquisition of Visafone have shown that the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) operator asked the South African telecommunications firm to take only 100 per cent shareholding at the initial stage of the deal.
A letter written to Visafone by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) entitled, “Re: Final Approval To The Changes in Shareholding of Visafone Communications Limited.”
The letter dated July 13, 2015 showed that Visafone Communications Limited, a holder of a Unified Access Services Licence, requested the approval of the NCC to enable MTN acquire its 100 per cent equity, by virtue of share transfer arrangement.
NCC said it reviewed the request, and on October 5, 2015 granted an approval-in-principle to Visafone for the proposed transaction subject to its (Visafone) meeting conditions specified in the letter. And upon confirmation of compliance with the conditions, NCC granted final approval for the acquisition of 100 per cent equity in Visafone by MTN.
But later, in another application and a letter written by Visafone and dated June 9, 2016 and July 11, 2016, it requested the NCC to approve a transfer of its licence to MTN. In response to the letter with the title, “Re: Request for Approval To Transfer Visafone’s Licences to MTN Following Transfer of Ownership,’ the commission gave conditions for approval which include that:
• Visafone subscribers can be migrated to MTN’s network, but that such customers need to be segregated until it takes on the application for transfer; and that
• MTN’s tariff shall apply to all MTN and Visafone subscribers that are migrated.
Other conditions are that separate accounts shall be maintained by MTN and Visafone, MTN shall bear the cost of devices needed by Visafone’s subscribers accommodated on MTN’s network, and that Visafone’s subscribers, who still have airtime on their devices, should be