MTN Nigeria buys Visafone to expand market

By Bloomberg Time of article published Apr 10, 2015

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MTN has started the process of buying closely held Visafone Communications of Nigeria, as it seeks to expand in its largest market, according to two people familiar with the matter. Lagos-based Visafone is a wireless network provider founded in 2007 by Jim Ovia, a Nigerian businessman who also created Zenith Bank. The people asked not to be identified because the deal has yet to be announced. MTN, Africa’s biggest mobile phone company, has been exploring acquisitions as it seeks to boost revenue from data outside South Africa, where Vodacom Group has more subscribers. Johannesburg-based MTN had 59.9 million subscribers in Nigeria at the end of 2014, more than a quarter of its 223m total across 22 countries. Visafone had about 2.2m customers as of December, according to data compiled by the Nigerian communications commission. “We will send a holding statement at the appropriate time,” Funmilayo Onajide, a spokeswoman for MTN’s Nigerian unit in Lagos, said yesterday. – Bloomberg

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