After denying any involvement in a consortium which became the preferred buyer for struggling incumbent telco Nigerian Telecommunications (NITEL), Reuters reports that China Unicom has now stated it would be interested in joining New Generation Telecommunications, but noted it never entered formal negotiations with the group. In a bid to clarify confusion over reports of its participation in the consortium, Unicom said in a statement its UK-based division Unicom Europe had been in contact with bidders taking part in the privatisation process and indicated an interest in providing technical and managerial support for the bid. The company also said it had expressed a potential interest in taking an equity stake in NITEL if certain conditions were fulfilled.
As reported by CommsUpdate, Nigeria’s Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) announced on 16 February that New Generation Telecommunications had become the preferred buyer for a minimum 75% stake in NITEL after beating four other firms with a bid of USD2.5 billion. Other companies with an interest in New Generation were named by the BPE as Dubai-based Minerva Group and local company GiCell Wireless. The reserve bidder was announced as Omen International (BVI), which offered USD956 million.