South African cellco MTN is reportedly in the process of acquiring a 50% (plus one share) stake in domestic internet service provider (ISP) Afrihost for an undisclosed sum, while existing shareholders, including the company’s management, will retain the remainder, TechCentral reports. In an email to Afrihost subscribers, CEO Gian Visser said: ‘I sincerely believe that joining MTN is the best thing we can do for you, our clients and the rest of our team’. According to the executive, the company’s name will remain unchanged, with Visser adding: ‘We have all agreed that we will keep running Afrihost exactly as we have been.’ Afrihost is owned by local businessmen Brendan Armstrong, Gian Visser, Greg Payne, Peter Meintjes and Angus MacRobert.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Afrihost entered the broadband market in 2009, while in July 2011 it acquired rival ISP Axxess DSL. In August 2012 Afrihost revealed that it would be transferring both companies’ ADSL services from Internet Solutions’ infrastructure to MTN’s custom-built network, in a move which it said will help them to ‘bring the highest quality, best value products to our clients’. Takeover speculation first emerged in August 2013, although MTN refused to comment on the rumours at that time.