Liquid Telecom, a U.K-based broadband provider which is controlled by Strive Masiyiwa, has agreed to acquire South African telecom operator Neotel for $430 million (6.55 billion rand) from Tata Communications, a subsidiary of Indian conglomerate, Tata Group.
Liquid Telecom will be partnering with Royal Bafokeng Holdings (RBH), the sovereign wealth fund of the South Royal Bafokeng nation in the acquisition. RBH will take a 30% stake in company, while Liquid Telecom will own the rest. The Royal Bafokeng nation is the ethnic homeland of the Bafokeng people, a Setswana-speaking traditional community north-west of Johannesburg.
The acquisition will make Liquid Telecom the largest pan-African broadband network, spanning 40,000 km of fibre network in 12 countries from South Africa to Kenya, according to a joint press release issued by the companies. Liquid Telecom plans to use the single fibre network to launch new products and services aimed at African businesses.
The transaction is subject to approval by South African regulators and will be completed later this year.
Liquid Telecom CEO Nic Rudnick, reportedly said that they will also be increasing investments into Neotel to cater for rapidly accelerating mobile and enterprise traffic.
Over the years, Liquid Telecom has built 18,000km of fibre broadband in 15 African countries. Last September, Masiyiwa reportedly said that Liquid Telecom was considering getting listed on an European Stock Exchange sometime in 2016 after turning down several approaches by potential buyers in the last few years.