Vodacom and Neotel: The acquisition deal is off

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Vodacom has officially announced that it’s no longer pursuing the R7 billion acquisition of Neotel’s fixed line business assets due to what the mobile network calls “regulatory complexities and certain conditions not being fulfilled”.

Word about the acquisition began spreading as early as 2013 after Vodacom announced it had started with negotiations to do so.

In December last year, it was then revealed that instead of buying Neotel’s business assets and the spectrum licence, Vodacom would only be acquiring the former, but the message was that the deal was still going ahead.

Now, Vodacom has said it’s agreed with Neotel that the proposed restructured transaction, can no longer be progressed.

In July 2015, Icasa, tasked with approving the deal, released the conditions Vodacom had to abide by for the transfer of control, calling on the public to submit comments withing two weeks on whether or not the deal should go on.

Vodacom was met with a few bumps in the road when rival network Cell C challenged Icasa, stating that the communications regulator not published its decision to give the deal the greenlight, nor explained the reasons for it. But it wasn’t enough to stop the deal.

“It is disappointing that we have reached this conclusion despite all our efforts to find a way to deal with the complexities of the restructured transaction,” Vodacom CEO, Shameel Joosub said in a statement.

“Our ambition to increase the rollout of fibre-based broadband services to customers remains. We will continue to look for spectrum opportunities, as well as opportunities to accelerate our fixed line business,” Joosub said.