By January 12, 2019

9mobile Confirms Adrian Wood’s Exit, Completes Handover

By January 12, 2019

9mobile’s Board of Directors has confirmed Teleology Holdings Limited alongside its founder’s exit from the telecoms company. According to sources familiar with 9mobile, the exiting stakeholder had grown uncomfortable with actions external to the agreed business plan since the telco was officially taken over in November 2018.

According to beliefs, Teleology Holdings had been blocked from concluding a management service contract with the local joint venture, Teleology Nigeria Limited. The management services contract would have given Teleology Holdings the enablement to oversee the implementation of the organization’s extensive business plan, including funding proposals.

In an expression which seemed to divulge disappointment, Adrian Wood had revealed that fifteen Teleology experts have worked with 9mobile since June 2017 on detailed turnaround planning, strategy development, and financial restructuring. Involved in these activities was the lining up of over USD 500 Mn fresh direct foreign investment from international institutions.

Wood, who was once CEO of MTN Nigeria, appraised that 9mobile is a scintillating opportunity that could build mobile network revolution in Nigeria, but however said that Teleology Holdings would, unfortunately, not be able to participate and would have to stand down from further work on the 9mobile project. He consequently resigned from the boards of Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services, as well as Teleology Nigeria Limited.

9mobile’s Board of Directors, in a statement signed on its behalf by the Director, Regulatory and Corporate Affairs, Oluseyi Osunsedo, confirmed Wood’s exit, saying that the telecom is better off without him. According to Osunsedo, as an aftermath of the protracted mismanagement of an otherwise healthy company alongside its previous owners’ loan default, 9mobile has been acquired by Teleology Nigeria Limited.

Familiar sources explain that the acquisition followed an internationally competitive and exhaustive bidding process led by Barclays Africa, which saw the participation of the CBN, NCC and 13 Nigerian banks. The acquisition process was brought to a close with the initial deposit of USD 50 Mn and a further payment of USD 251 Mn as settlement to the banks that took over the telecoms company. The payments,  further due diligence, and technical evaluations led to the clearance of the buyout by the NCC and the handover of 9mobile to its new owners.

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Adrian Wood (Courtesy:The Nerve Africa)

Teleology Nigeria Limited – the company who initially paid USD 301 Mn for 9mobile – as a consortium with several local and foreign investors, needs to see every partner delivering and meeting obligations to partnership as per financial resources, physical availability for vital meetings and extensive network for business propulsion. Wood’s Teleology Holdings Limited, which owned only a minority stake in Teleology Nigeria Limited, is apprised by Osunsedo to have failed severally and wholly to meet its obligations. Wood is reported to have absented himself from consortium-facilitated critical presentations during the bid process, which is described by Osunsedo as an “abject failure’ with his financing arrangements with Swiss-based UBS Bank.

His Royal Highness Prince Nasiru Ado Bayero, following the buy-in, is now 9mobile’s chairman. Due to Wood’s reported shortcomings, other partners in the consortium filled the gap and pushed ahead until the sale was completed. According to a report, the telecoms company has been able to add about 1 million subscribers on the network without Wood’s or Teleology Holdings’ input. The Board, according to Osunsedo, has revived, and enhanced key vendor relationships and business accounts, improved supplier relationships and bettered its core network capabilities to deliver network efficiency.

On the bases of its renewed operations in finance, regulations and technical architecture, 9mobile is reported to have emerged from a two-year uncertainty period to attain active subscriber base, with a 16 million figure that represents a net increase of over 1 million in the last 6 weeks alone. Currently the 4th largest telco in Nigeria, 9mobile, continues to face troubled times since the pull-out of parent company, Etisalat, due to indebtedness.

 

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