Brymedia, one of the frontrunners in the bid for the national telecoms carrier, Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) and its mobile subsidiary, MTel, is said to be making moves to acquire the ailing operator should the preffered bidder fail to make the required initial payment.
Brymedia came third during the bidding process for NITEL in February 2010, after offering USD551 million for a 75% stake in NITEL (excluding its CDMA network) and its mobile arm M-Tel.
This comes on the back of the preferred bidder, New Generation Consortium, failing, to meet the governments extended deadline for payment of a USD750 million bid security on 23 December 2010.
Several attempts made in the past ten years by the Federal Government to sell NITEL to core investors have run aground. In 2001, Investors International London Limited (ILL), made an attempt to acquire NITEL, but defaulted in paying the bid price of $1.317 billion and lost the bid.
Thereafter, Pentascope of Netherlands was appointed to revamp the moribund telecom firm, but that attempt also failed. Orascom also attempted to acquire NITEL in a $256.5 million deal but lost the bid to Transcorp, which acquired NITEL for $500 million.
The sale to Transcorp in 2006 was the most successful with Transcorp acquiring a 75 per cent stake in NITEL/M-Tel, which was later reduced to 51per cent due to issues of finance. The Transcorp acquisition did not revive NITEL and was finally revoked by the Federal Government.