No Nigerians for Vodacom

Johannesburg, 01 Sep 2008

Fixed-line operator Telkom has denied it is in talks with any parties other than those it has already informed the market about, namely Vodafone and Mvelaphanda.

This follows media reports last week that the high-profile Mowana consortium had approached it with the intention to spark talks between the fixed-line giant and a Nigerian business tycoon.

According to the reports, Mowana Investment, a South African brokerage tied to the likes of Nkenke Kekana, Benjamin Mophatlane and Mandla Langa, represented Globacom owner Mike Adenuga Junior, who wanted to create a pan-African telecoms firm called "Vodaglo", worth about R140 billion.

According to an official Telkom announcement, it has received "a number of enquiries and expressions of interest in respect of one or more components of its business". However, it says it had not "entered into any discussions in respect of any of these expressions of interest, other than those referred to in Telkom's cautionary announcements renewed on 26 August 2008".

This cautionary stated Telkom was talking to both Toyo Sexwale's Mvelaphanda Holdings and UK-based Vodafone about shedding its stake in SA's largest cellular operator, Vodacom.

Meanwhile, the UK-based Financial Times reports that Vodafone is upbeat on its chances of securing a bigger chunk of Vodacom.

Vodafone owns 50% of Vodacom and made an offer in May to buy 12.5% more from its joint venture partner Telkom for $2.5 billion.

Vodafone completed a $900 million deal this month to buy a majority stake in Ghana Telecom, Ghana's third-largest mobile operator. This is generally accepted to be part of its bid to expand into the rapidly growing African market.

Vodacom has mobile operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Mozambique and Tanzania, as well as SA.

Vodacom announced on Friday it would buy Gateway Telecommunications for $675 million.

Related stories:
Vodacom buys Gateway
Nigerian telco in Vodacom merger?
Still hope for Telkom sale
Zain to partner with Telkom?