Teleology Holdings Limited, promoted by Adrian Wood, former CEO of MTN Nigeria, is the preferred bidder for 9mobile, TheCable can report.
Smile Telecoms Holdings, a telco operating in Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Congo DR and South Africa, is the reserve bidder.
While Teleology put in a bid of $500 million, Smile quoted $300 million.
However, TheCable understands that both companies will be given 30 days to prove that they have the financial resources to take over the troubled telco.
The official announcement is expected to be made any moment from now.
As previously reported by TheCable, Globacom, Nigeria’s second largest operator, and Helios Investment Partners LLP, an investment company, did not make any financial offer for 9mobile.
Airtel pulled out completely, complaining about “too many hidden things” in the health of the company.
If either Globacom or Airtel had taken over the company formerly known as Etisalat, they would have overtaken MTN as the biggest operator in Nigeria by number of subscribers.
Wood (pictured) was a CEO of MTN Nigeria and was credited with building a very good business model.
The Australian has remained in the Nigerian business environment since November 2004 when he left MTN.
In July 2017, 9mobile was taken over by banks following a N541 billion debt overhang.
Mubadala Group, the major investor from the United Arab Emirates, pulled out of Nigeria’s fourth largest mobile operator as a result of the debt owed to a consortium of 13 banks.
The telco was then put on sale, with Barclays Africa acting as transaction advisers.
The telecom regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), is expected to have the final say after decision of the interim board — because of licensing laws.