Adrian Wood pushed to expose inside dealings behind 9mobile sale
…as local shareholders fight back
Sources close to Teleology Holdings say accusations from local shareholders claiming the Adrian Wood-led parent company failed to meet financial and physical obligations are false and may leave them with no choice but to
divulge the inside details of the acquisition of Nigeria’s fourth largest wireless carrier, 9mobile.
Focus has since shifted to the identity of the local shareholders who remain largely unknown.
“9- mobile’ s statement will only push Adrian Wood to the wall to expose the unfair dealings of Teleology Nigeria,” a source familiar with the matter said.
“All this is already sending the wrong signal to the foreign community,” the source added.
The local shareholders of 9-mobile swiped back at Wood in a statement Wednesday where they said the former MTN CEO and his company, Teleology Holdings, failed to meet some financial and physical obligations earlier agreed upon.
The statement came on the heels of Wood’ s claim to business day that he was displeased with certain actions taken by the local shareholders that were contrary to the initial arrangement.
Wood’s displeasure led to his exit from the Board, and the local shareholders have responded by insisting that the project would continue without any impute from Teleology Holdings, which they say is only a minority stakeholder in 9mobile.
There were initial fears among industry players that the loss of a technical partner in Teleology Holdings, could scuttle the deal and force a sale reversal, given that the proposal made by Wood’s Teleology was a key consideration for regulatory approval by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
Adrian Wood is said to have proved to the telecoms regulator that he had prior knowledge of the Telecommunications industry and was capable of using his expertise to successfully revive the ailing 9mobile.
A source at the NCC, however, told Businessday Thursday that the sale remains intact and that the onus is on Teleology Nigeria to select another technical partner.
“Although this is unprecedented waters for NCC, it is not for the regulator to reverse the sale as a deal has already been sealed and ownership transferred to Teleology Nigeria,” the source said.
What began with an outburst of optimism for the 9-mobile project has soon turned sour after some infighting between the parent company led by former MTN CEO, Wood, and the Nigerian unit, over the business strategy of 9mobile, with the parent pulling out.
The Nigerian unit responded to the parent company’s exit with some harsh words.
“Wood was not personally present for all the critical presentations made by the consortium during the bid process and failed abjectly with his financing arrangements with Swissbased UBS Bank. In all these failings, other partners in the consortium filled the gap and pushed ahead until the sale was completed,” said Oluseyi Osunsedo, director, regulatory and corporate affairs for 9-mobile.
According to Olusola Teniola, President, Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Teleology is one entity with different roles and responsibilities and Adrian Wood was not to handle the financial responsibility, although the Nigerian stakeholders may have thought otherwise.