Vodacom tight-lipped over Neotel rumour

Vodacom has neither denied nor confirmed industry speculation that it is in discussions with Neotel to acquire the fixed line operator.

When asked the question at the group’s results presentation on Monday, Shameel Joosub,Vodacom Group CEO said: “We look at all opportunities…we are actively looking for new markets to enter.” He said that the company could not comment specifically on market rumour.

One industry source said that Vodacom, MTN and Dimension Data were all in discussions with Neotel to potentially acquire a controlling stake in the company. Dimension Data (through Internet Solutions), however, is rumoured to have bowed out.

Another well placed industry source confirmed the acquisition rumours, saying that the discussions between Neotel and MTN, and Neotel and Vodacom are at an advanced stage.

Neotel would provide operators like Vodacom and MTN  with a well-established fibre network, along with valuable frequency spectrum.

Neotel’s current shareholders are Tata Communications (68.5%), Nexus Connection (19%) and Communitel (12.5%).

Tight-lipped

Neotel said that it is not company policy to comment on market rumour and speculation. “Neotel is experiencing good growth and will soon be announcing its results as well as the company direction for the next financial year,” the company added.

Nik Kershaw, executive for investor relations at MTN Group, said that “in line with internal corporate governance, as well as JSE requirements, MTN does not comment on market speculation”.

“Dimension Data’s policy is that it does not respond to market rumour, speculation or hypothetical questions about the company or any of its affiliates or subsidiaries,” the IT giant said.

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Vodacom tight-lipped over Neotel rumour