Internet service provider Webafrica is for sale, and a few prominent ISPs, including Afrihost and RSAWEB, have been linked to a potential deal.
Webafrica was founded by Matthew Tagg in 1997 as a web hosting company serving consumers and small businesses.
In 2005, the company entered the ADSL market with its 30GB for R199 special and rapidly grew its broadband subscriber base.
Webafrica also became a strong fibre-to-the-home player in later years as fibre penetration increased in South Africa.
From 2005 to 2017, Webafrica offered its clients both web hosting and connectivity products and acquired many smaller providers in this space.
Webafrica decided to split the business into two separate companies in November 2017 – Gridhost for web hosting and Webafrica for connectivity.
It is understood that the connectivity business has been struggling to turn a profit since it was launched in 2005, and that the split also served as an exit strategy for some shareholders.
Webafrica’s official company page states that it has 60,000 customers of which around 30,000 are fibre subscribers.
Webafrica for sale
Webafrica has now been put up for sale, with Standard Bank handling part of the process with interested parties.
While Webafrica has been struggling to turn a profit, two well-placed industry sources told MyBroadband that the company’s projections are looking positive.
This positive outlook is rumoured to have attracted the interest of a few prominent ISPs, including RSAWEB and Afrihost.
It is, however, unclear which companies are officially bidding to buy Webafrica, and they may include a few big telecommunications players.
No sale yet
Webafrica CEO Tim Wyatt-Gunning told MyBroadband that Webafrica has not been sold and that “the owners of Webafrica remain the same in all aspects”.
He added that they remain focussed “on the rapid exciting growth of our business”, which include the recent launch of its Telkom LTE products and the ongoing network migration.
MyBroadband asked Afrihost and RSAWEB for feedback regarding their interest in Webafrica, but the companies would not comment on the issue.
RSAWEB CEO Mark Slingsby did, however, tell MyBroadband that it is actively exploring an acquisition strategy in the market.
“Consolidation of the market is the natural next step in the FTTH space. We believe that bringing customers the best value is only achievable over the long term with scale,” Slingsby said.