January 10, 2019 / 2:33 PM / 11 days ago

Company led by ex-MTN Nigeria CEO Wood exits 9mobile

FILE PHOTO: A man walks towards a 9 mobile outdoor billboard in Abuja, Nigeria's capital, August 30, 2017. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde/File Photo

LAGOS (Reuters) - Teleology Holding, a company led by former MTN Group (MTNJ.J) executive Adrian Wood, has pulled out of Nigeria’s 9mobile just weeks after its $301 million takeover of the firm with a group of local investors, two people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Teleology’s departure comes after disagreements with Nigerian shareholders, the sources said on condition of anonymity. They gave no further details.

9mobile on Thursday confirmed the departure of Teleology, which had held a minority stake, but did not provide a reason.

Teleology Holding and Wood were not available for comment.

9mobile, formerly called Etisalat Nigeria, is the country’s fourth-biggest telecoms operator and was operated by Abu Dhabi-based telecoms firm Etisalat ETEL.AD until the local company defaulted on its debt, forcing lenders to step in to find new investors.

“We unequivocally assure our customers, suppliers, partners, regulators, and stakeholders that the board is committed to continuing the upward mobility of 9mobile,” 9mobile said in a statement.

Wood is the former chief executive of South African telecoms giant MTN Group’s Nigeria business.

Competition in Nigeria’s mobile telecoms market is intense as the biggest operator, MTN, expands its service through partnerships with banks.

“9mobile has emerged from a period of uncertainty over the past two years to attain an active subscriber base of 16 million, representing a net increase of over 1 million subscribers in the last 6 weeks alone,” the company said.

Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha; Writing by Paul Carsten; Editing by David Goodman and Alexandra Hudson

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