Bad Omen for NITEL as reserve bidder fails to revalidate offer

7 Apr 2011

Omen International Consortium, the reserve buyer for state-run incumbent telco Nigeria Telecommunications (NITEL), has failed to revalidate its interest in buying the struggling operator, local news paper This Day reports, citing unnamed government sources. Last month the British Virgin Islands-registered Omen consortium, which includes China Unicom and Fiber Home Technologies Limited, was invited by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) to re-register its interest in buying NITEL, after preferred buyer New Generation Telecommunications repeatedly failed to meet the payment deadlines for its bid of USD2.5 billion. Omen was said to have re-examined its bid and all that had transpired since the auction and concluded that it would be unable to raise the money it offered for NITEL. Omen offered USD956.9 million for a 75% stake in NITEL and its mobile arm M-Tel during the latest attempt to privatise the company, held in February 2010. The government began seeking a buyer for a minimum 75% of NITEL and 100% of M-Tel in July 2009 after previous majority shareholder Transcorp divested its stake earlier in the year.

Nigeria,ntel (formerly NITEL/M-Tel),

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