Vodacom stake for sale to black investors
A stake in Vodacom is back up for sale following the collapse of a previous deal in May that was aimed at increasing black ownership of the cellular operator.
The Vodacom stock being sold by the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) is valued at about R6 billion, according to people familiar with the negotiations, who asked not to be identified. That equates to about 2.6% of Vodacom.
The PIC is in talks with a number of black investors, according to CEO Dan Matjila, who declined to discuss the details. No favourite had emerged, and a deal structure had not yet been decided, Matjila said. One of the groups included Vodacom chairperson Peter Moyo, said one of the people familiar with the talks.
An increase in black ownership would help Vodacom meet government regulations that are part of the country’s effort to compensate those discriminated against during apartheid. Currently, 18.7% of Vodacom is owned by black investors, compared with 39% for rival MTN. A 30% black-ownership minimum was a condition in a South African broadband spectrum auction that was delayed in September, though those requirements are currently in flux.
The Vodacom suitors include NMT Capital, a firm co-founded by Moyo, along with executives Sango Ntsaluba and Thabiso Tlelai.
To address potential governance issues relating to Moyo’s involvement, NMT would take part in a bigger consortium that would not be led by Moyo, said Ntsaluba.