Tech Edition

Proximus Group Acquires MTN’s 20% Shareholding in BICS

Proximus has announced the acquisition of MTN’s 20% shareholding in BICS. The transaction is worth R1.8-billion, which Proximus Group will take over in shares at a cost of 6.5 billion francs, or approximately R6.76-billion, in total. MTN, through its subsidiary Tullow Telecom, owns 20% of BICS. MTN will sell the stake to Proximus for an estimated 10% premium to its share price at the time of acquisition. The balance of the purchase price will be paid in cash.

Proximus Group acquires MTN’s 20% shareholding in BICS

The Proximus Group, the sole shareholder of the Belgian telecommunications group Proximus, has bought out MTN’s 20% shareholding in BICS for an undisclosed sum.

What does this mean for MTN?

With the acquisition, Proximus Group now has a 20% stake in BICS. This leaves MTN with a 78% shareholding. BICS has just started some consultancy and engineering work on a new generation of our wireless products. We look forward to the opportunities that will arise from this relationship.”

Commenting on the announcement, the CEO of BICS International Benoit Placette said: “As a telecommunications company, BICS offers a number of solutions to the mobile industry. This acquisition strengthens our position as a leading provider of the spectrum to wireless operators. Having been part of MTN Group for a number of years, we are confident that this will be a mutually beneficial partnership.”

Why is Proximus acquiring MTN’s shareholding?

MTN is a telecommunications service provider in South Africa offering multiple services through networks that span across the continent. It has a shareholding of 20% in BICS, a business intelligence company. Having a shareholding in BICS gives MTN privileged access to timely and actionable information about financial markets, consumer spending, the economy, and the competition. With this acquisition, Proximus claims it will be able to take advantage of these opportunities for its clients.

What does the sale of BICS mean for MTN’s home country government?

The sale of MTN’s 20% shareholding in BICS to Proximus Group has indicated the African telecoms company’s intention to focus exclusively on its African network. However, MTN still remains a leading competitor in Europe and Asia, with market shares above 70%.

This acquisition follows recent news of MTN and Proximus seeking to divest each other’s shares as they try to find an optimal working arrangement for their respective businesses.

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