Vodacom disappointed by Neotel wait

Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub says that he is confident that the group’s deal with Neotel will be approved, despite the long wait after the terms were initially announced a year ago.

“The delay in receiving regulatory approval for the acquisition of Neotel is disappointing. This transaction has been with the authorities for approval for almost a year now,” Joosub said on Monday (May 18).

In May 2014, Vodacom and Neotel announced that the two companies had entered into a deal that would see Vodacom acquire 100% of Neotel.

For R7 billion, Vodacom would acquire all of the issued share capital in, and shareholder loans against Neotel.

The terms of the deal now sit with the telco regulators and various approval commissions.

Joosub said on a conference call on Monday that he remains confident in the transaction being concluded. “The concern is that it’s taking too long.”

He said that Vodacom should have a better indication by the end of May.

Last week, Cell C CEO Jose Dos Santos said that the operator will do whatever it takes to block Vodacom’s acquisition of Neotel.

“We will keep them in court for as long as the legal system allows it, which is two years,” Dos Santos told journalists at the company’s headquarters in Midrand on Wednesday 13 May.

“I have an entire legal team on this….we will do whatever it takes, legally,” Dos Santos said.

According to Cell C, a successful deal would “unfairly” strengthen Vodacom’s ability to compete, should the group gain control of Neotel’s spectrum.

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Vodacom disappointed by Neotel wait