Masiyiwa to reacquire stake in Botswana’s Mascom Wireless

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By Alois Vinga

MOBILE telecoms mogul, Strive Masiyiwa’s Econet Wireless (Pty) Ltd is set to re-acquire stake in one of Botswana’s leading mobile phone service providers, Mascom Wireless.

This was confirmed recently by the Mascom’s current major shareholders, MTN.

Mobile network giant, MTN which currently enjoys 53 percent stake in Mascom Wireless, is disposing its stake.

“MTN has accepted an offer from Econet Wireless (Pty) Ltd, our existing partner, to acquire Mascom and in line with IFRS recognition requirements, Mascom has been classified as an asset held for sale at 31 December 2018.

“The purchase consideration for MTN’s shareholding is USD300 million and the transaction is subject to various approvals and is anticipated to be concluded by June 2019,” said MTN in a statement.

Masiyiwa, by far one of the continent’s most successful businessmen, established Mascom Wireless in the late 1990s at a time he was struggling to get a mobile phone operating licence in Zimbabwe.

He sold his 14 percent stake in Mascom in 2004 and disposed of another 44 percent of the business to telecoms powerhouse, MTN the following year.

At the time MTN acquired stake in the Botswana entity, it was seeking to gain control of Mascom and establish an MTN Botswana.

However, the plans did not see the light of day due to matters believed to have been influenced by disagreements over management and operational contracts.

MTN is also disposing of a number of its investments on the African continent and outside.

To date, the South African firm has disposed of its Cyprus operation for USD 294 million and is also selling one of Africa’s most celebrated e-commerce giants, Jumia Technologies of Nigeria.

Zimbabwe’s success stories, Econet is a privately held diversified telecommunications group with operations and investments in Africa, Europe, South America, North America and the East Asia Pacific Rim, offering products and services in the core areas of mobile and fixed telephony services, broadband, internet, satellite and fibre optic networks.