MTN taps JPMorgan to separate fintech business

MTN Group, Africa’s largest phone company, is working with advisers at JPMorgan Chase & Co on the planned separation of its financial technology business, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The carrier said last month it aims to complete a carveout of the business by the end of the first half before seeking funds from outside investors later in the year. Last year, Nedbank Group Ltd estimated the fintech arm could be worth about $6 billion.

MTN is studying a variety of potential deals, including bringing in partners for some of its businesses as well as possibly listing certain units in the future, to unlock value and pay down debt. The carrier is also exploring options for its data center business, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

The telecom carrier is separately working with FTI Consulting Inc to find ways to boost revenues from its wholesale business and roaming agreements across the markets where it operates, one of the people said.

Shares of MTN have roughly doubled in Johannesburg over the past 12 months, giving the company a valuation of about $22.3 billion. Deliberations are ongoing, and there’s no certainty they will lead to any transactions, the people said.

Spokespeople for MTN, JPMorgan and FTI declined to comment.

MTN said in 2020 it targets to raise R25 billion ($1.7 billion) from asset disposals over the medium term. It agreed in November to sell a portfolio of wireless towers in its home market of South Africa for R6.4 billion. MTN also has a stake in New York-listed tower owner IHS Holding Ltd that it could sell down.

Read: MTN to invest R700 million in KwaZulu-Natal

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MTN taps JPMorgan to separate fintech business