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Telkom confirms receiving offer from ex-CEO Sipho Maseko

Admire Moyo
By Admire Moyo, ITWeb's news editor.
Johannesburg, 12 Jun 2023
Former Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko.
Former Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko.

Telkom has confirmed receiving an unsolicited offer to acquire a controlling stake in the company, from a consortium led by its former group chief executive officer Sipho Maseko.

In a cautionary statement today, the telco says in response to recent media articles relating to a bid by a consortium led by Maseko (Afrifund Investments) and comprising Axian Telecom and the Government Employees Pension Fund, managed by the Public Investment Corporation (collectively, the consortium) to acquire a stake in Telkom, the company confirms it received an unsolicited non-binding indicative letter from the consortium for the acquisition of a controlling stake in Telkom.

It says the merits of the bid are being assessed by the Telkom board of directors in accordance with its fiduciary duties.

Sunday Times yesterday reported that the consortium led by Maseko presented an offer of R46 a share for a controlling stake in South Africa’s third-largest mobile network, but this was immediately rejected as too low and not in the best interests of Telkom shareholders.

It added the parties are still in discussions, and a new offer has been put on the table.

In its statement, Telkom says in this regard, the company has requested the consortium to provide further clarity on several matters, including the proposed offer price and certainty of funding.

“As such, discussions remain of an exploratory and non-consensual nature, there being no certainty that the outcome of these discussions will result in a transaction.

“However, having regard to the continued detailed media speculation and Telkom awaiting further clarity, shareholders are advised to exercise caution when dealing in the company’s shares until such time as a further announcement is made.

“Telkom continues to pursue its strategic value unlock initiatives and should such initiatives result in any developments that may have a material effect on the value of Telkom’s shares, information on such arrangements will be disclosed to shareholders.”

Maseko resigned as Telkom group CEO in December 2021 after eight years at the helm. He has since been replaced by Serame Taukobong.

Last year, MTN, Africa’s biggest mobile operator, also made moves to buy Telkom.

However, MTN walked away from the deal after the telephony group failed to provide Africa’s largest mobile operator with assurances around exclusivity.

In January, Telkom and Rain terminated discussions relating to Rain’s proposal to merge with the majority state-owned telephony group.