Mike Adenuga, Nigeria’s second richest man, has moved to buy Ivorian mobile telecoms operator Comium Cote d’Ivoire. According to multiple reports, Globacom, a Nigerian mobile telecoms operator owned by Adenuga, has lodged a $600 million takeover bid for the operator.
The move is perceived by many to be a strategic one where Globacom will see gains by way of an increased presence in the West African region. Already, the Nigerian mobile telecoms giant operates in Ghana and Benin Republic, in addition to its home country and will seek to invest over $1 billion in upgrading Comium-CI’s network over the next three years. Officials of both companies are yet to confirm the bid.
Comium CI has more than 900,000 mobile subscribers according to L’Autorite de Regulation des Telecommunications and is a subsidiary of the Comium Group, a Lebanon-based telecommunications company. The group operates as a multi-service provider on four continents, specializing in Wireless Data Networks, GSM communications, Internet service provision and VoIP.
Comium CI is cash-strapped and heavily indebted to the tune of over $25 million; it’s been given till May 5 to pay off or risk being placed into receivership, a situation which leaves it with no better option than to sell to Adenuga.
According to Ventures Africa’s The Richest People in Africa, Mike Adenuga, 63, is the 2nd richest man in Nigeria with a fortune currently estimated at $8 billion. Most of his fortune comes from his ownership of the Nigerian mobile telecoms outfit Globacom, and Conoil Producing, a Nigerian oil exploration firm that operates about 6 oil blocks in the Niger Delta region of the country. His venture into entrepreneurship started with the sales of lace materials and sodas in the 1970s, he later became the first Nigerian to strike oil in commercial quantities.