Vodacom closer to Neotel purchase: sources

Mobile operator Vodacom is currently performing due diligence on Neotel following successful acquisition discussions between the companies. This is according to two independent industry sources close to the negotiations.

In May 2013 MyBroadband reported that Vodacom and MTN were in separate discussions with Neotel to acquire the fixed line operator.

The Sunday Times reported on 30 June 2013 that formal bids for the purchase of Neotel had to be submitted that week.

Well placed industry sources confirmed that Vodacom is currently investigating and assessing Neotel’s value as part of its acquisition plans.

Neotel holds great value for South Africa’s largest mobile operators, partly because of its well-established fibre network and its valuable frequency spectrum.

In May, Neotel CEO Sunil Joshi said that the group had trenched 8,000 kilometres of its own metro fibre, reaching 4,200 companies, having invested R500 million in capex in in FY2013, and adding to its total of R5 billion in infrastructure since inception.

Vodacom was asked for comment about its due diligence on Neotel, but declined to comment on the matter.

“We explore investment opportunities on a regular basis, but we can’t comment on any specific companies,” said Vodacom spokesperson Richard Boorman.

Neotel did not respond by the time of publication.

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Vodacom closer to Neotel purchase: sources