Nigerian tycoon eyes South Africa's Telkom: paper

LAGOS – Nigerian tycoon Mike Adenuga wants to buy South African fixed-line operator Telkom so he can merge his cellphone company Globacom with Telkom's stake in Vodacom, a Nigerian newspaper said on Tuesday.

Business Day said Adenuga had met with Telkom Chief Executive Reuben September after proposing the deal, which would allow Adenuga to merge Globacom with Telkom’s 50 percent stake in Vodacom, South Africa’s biggest mobile operator.

Globacom could not bid for Telkom’s stake in Vodacom directly because Britain’s Vodafone, which owns the other 50 percent, had the first right of refusal, the Nigerian newspaper said.

"My chairman was in South Africa … and I am aware that he met with Telkom officials but I have not been briefed on what they discussed," a Globacom official told Reuters, asking not to be named.

Officials from Telkom, which said last week it had not entered into talks with Globacom but would evaluate any proposal it received, were not immediately available to comment.

South African newspaper Business Day reported last week that Adenuga wanted to create a pan-African telecoms firm "Vodaglo" worth $18 billion.

A Globacom official told Reuters on Friday there were discussions about "building a business partnership" between Globacom and Vodacom, but a Vodacom spokeswoman said she was not aware of any such talks.

A deal with Globacom could derail plans by Vodafone to win control of Vodacom by buying part of Telkom’s stake.

The Nigerian Business Day report said Adenuga’s plan would leave Telkom’s fixed line operations as a listed entity. Reuters