Wednesday, June 25, 2008

MTN acquires Verizon's south african ISP entity

Telecom major MTN, currently in exclusive negotiations with India's Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications for a possible merger, today announced acquisition of Verizon South Africa, an Internet service provider majority owned by US-based Verizon Communications.

Under the agreement, MTN will acquire 100 percent of Verizon South Africa Pty Ltd, which is 70 percent owned by Verizon Business and the rest by J&J Group, an investment holding entity founded by two Indian-origin persons.

Verizon Business is part of the US telecom major Verizon and Verizon Business South Africa is an established South Africa headquartered Internet service provider (ISP) providing connectivity services to corporate customers in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Kenya.

The ISP is about 30 percent owned by Jay & Jayendra Pty Ltd, part of South Africa-based investment holding and management company J&J Group, which was founded by Jay Naidoo and Jayendra Naidoo in February 2000.

US major Verizon Comm has a mobile business joint venture in the US, named Verizon Wireless, with British telecom giant Vodafone, which is headed by an Indian-origin CEO Arun Sarin. However, Sarin is set to leave the company next month.

In a regulatory filing here, MTN said that the deal is in line with its strategy to provide integrated communications solutions in all of its markets.

The deal follows similar acquisitions by MTN in Nigeria, Cameroon, Cyprus and Cote de'lvoire, the company said.

MTN said that the closing of the deal is subject to regulatory and competition commission approvals.

The African telecom major is currently engaged in 45-day exclusive talks, which began on May 26, with Reliance Communications for a possible amalgamation to create an entity worth about an estimated 70 billion dollars.