Picture: Mike Hutchings

Johannesburg - MTN, Africa’s largest cellphone operator by numbers, is selling its majority 50.02 percent stake in Afrihost as it focuses on its core business.

MTN bought the stake in the internet service provider in 2014 as it sought to boost its SME and corporate presence, while Afrihost believed it could expand its base with the backing of a strong shareholder.

In a statement embargoed until Friday morning, MTN said it was now selling the stake as it sought to focus on its core business and pursue opportunities in relevant adjacent businesses.

The transaction is still subject to regulatory clearances and Competition Commission approval.

Mteto Nyati, MTN SA’s CEO, says the disposal will allow both parties to focus their attention on their core businesses.

“We have enjoyed a long and fruitful partnership with MTN over the years and we are grateful for everything they have done for us. MTN will remain a key supplier of ours, and we look forward to continue working with them for the years ahead,” says Gian Visser, Afrihost’s CEO.

Afrihost was founded in 2000 by CEO Gian Visser, Brendan Armstrong and Peter Meintjes, who were later joined by Greg Payne (former COO of Internet Solutions). They have since been joined by Angus McRobert, former CEO of Internet Solutions and joint CEO of Vox Telecom.

“The deal is in line with MTN’s strategy of focusing on core business while exploring relevant adjacent growth opportunities. The conclusion of this transaction will go a long way towards streamlining our operations” says Nyati.

MTN expects this development to have minimal impact on its customers.