Vodacom puts Neotel merger on hold

Vodacom advised on Monday that its proposed acquisition of Neotel has been put on ice as the two companies explore a revised transaction structure.

The R7-billion deal between the country’s largest mobile operator and the fixed-line company was approved by South Africa’s communications regulator, Icasa, in June, with the deal originally announced in May 2014.

The Competition Tribunal of South Africa agreed on the weekend to postpone a hearing into the proposed merger after Vodacom and Neotel brought an application for a postponement of the hearing that was scheduled to start on Monday.

“Shareholders are referred to the announcement on 2 July 2015 in terms of which an update was provided on the regulatory approvals required for the proposed acquisition by Vodacom of 100% of the issued sharecapital of, and shareholder loan claims against, Neotel,” said Vodacom.

“Shareholders are advised that Vodacom South Africa is in discussions with Neotel and the shareholders of Neotel to explore a revised transaction structure.”

It said that the outcome of these discussions will impact the extent of the approval being sought from the Competition Tribunal and the scope of the Competition Tribunal hearing.

“Accordingly, Vodacom South Africa and Neotel have requested that the hearing be postponed.”

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Vodacom puts Neotel merger on hold