(Reuters) – Liquid Telecom and Royal Bafokeng Holdings will buy South African telecoms operator Neotel for 6.55 billion rand ($429 million) from India’s Tata Communications and minority shareholders, the acquiring companies said on Tuesday.
“Liquid Telecom is partnering with Royal Bafokeng Holdings, a South African investment group, which has committed to take a 30 percent equity stake in Neotel,” the companies said in a statement.
The deal will create the largest pan-African broadband network, spanning 40,000 km of fibre networks in 12 countries from South Africa to Kenya, according to the companies.
Liquid Telecom, a unit of Mauritius-based Econet Global, said it would use the single fibre network to launch new products and services aimed at African businesses.
“We will also be increasing investments into Neotel to cater for rapidly accelerating mobile and enterprise traffic,” said Liquid Telecom Chief Executive Nic Rudnick.
The transaction, expected to be completed later this year, is subject to approval by South African regulators, the companies said.
South Africa’s Vodacom in 2014 offered Tata Communications $500 million for Neotel, but dropped the planned deal in March, citing regulatory complexities.
($1 = 15.2534 rand)
(Reporting by TJ Strydom; Editing by Stephen Coates and Mark Potter)
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