The Ugandan government has been forced to go back to the drawing board in its search for a majority investor for state-owned fixed and mobile operator Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL). In October last year Nigeria-based private equity firm Teleology Holdings was named as the winner of a tender to acquire an interest in the telco. The privatisation attracted seven bidders and Teleology emerged ahead of its rivals with an offer of USD71 million for a 67% stake.
A report from The Independent, however, cites government officials as saying that Teleology failed to pay the required 10% deposit by the deadline of 26 January. State Investment minister Evelyn Anite is now taking the matter back to Cabinet for approval to seek a new investor, the report adds. Ms Anite had been against naming Teleology as the winner, saying that Mauritius Telecom had a better track record in investing in African telcos, despite offering a much lower bid than its Nigerian rival.
Teleology has also faced problems in Nigeria, where it was hoping to take over struggling cellco 9mobile. Disagreements between the private equity group and local investment partners have reportedly led to Teleology Holdings pulling out of the deal.