PAN-African telecommunications group, Liquid Telecom, has successfully acquired Neotel to the tune of $435 million following an unconditional approval from the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa.
Neotel is South Africa's first converged communications network operator while Liquid Telecom is majority owned by Econet Global, the parent company of Econet Wireless Zimbabwe.
Under the acquisition deal, Liquid Telecom's partner, a South African investment group — Royal Bafokeng Holdings (RBH) —owns a 30 percent stake in Neotel.
Liquid Telecom said following the acquisition, a new revitalised Neotel would emerge on the South African market.
"Neotel has officially become part of the pan-African telecoms group Liquid Telecom, marking a new era of investment in Neotel's network and services across South Africa.
"Through substantial new capital from Liquid Telecom, a revitalised Neotel will emerge on the South African market with significantly enhanced service offerings for enterprises and consumers," said the Pan-African telecommunications group.
Over the coming months, the telecommunications group intends to make extensive upgrades and expansions to Neotel's network, delivering greater levels of high-speed connectivity to more customers across South Africa.
The group also plans to make substantial investment in Neotel's data centre capabilities, which currently include two Tier 3 designed state-of-the-art data centres in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
"For the first time, Neotel's operations and focus will also become Pan-African. Its network in South Africa will link together with Liquid Telecom's extensive fibre footprint to offer access via a single connection to over 40 000 kilometres of cross border, national and metro fibre networks. This will give Liquid Telecom unrivalled reach across Eastern, Central and Southern Africa.
Liquid Telecom group chief executive officer Mr Nic Rudnick was quoted as saying:
"I am delighted to officially welcome Neotel into the Liquid Telecom group. . . The refinancing of the company's balance sheet will see a revitalised Neotel enter the market with the ability to offer consumers and businesses greater quality services and products delivered through world-class networks.
"As Liquid Telecom continues to grow, we are committed to maintaining our entrepreneurial spirit, encouraging innovation and delivering on our vision of a more connected Africa."
Liquid Telecom and RBH have been preparing for the integration of Neotel since receiving regulatory approval last December.