MTN to pay $128M for 44% of Mascom

On the heels of recent acquisitions in Zambia and Ivory Coast, MTN plans to pay $128 million to acquire a 44 percent stake in Mascom Wireless Botswana. However, DECI Investments, which claims its subsidiaries own 60 percent of Mascom said the sale resulted from a shareholder dispute within the firm and an arbitration process will proceed before the potential sale to MTN. The deal would make MTN the primary shareholder in Mascom, a wireless carrier in Botswana with 440,000 customers and a 70 percent share of the market. Strive Masiyiwa's Econet owns 40 percent of the company.

Rumor has it that MTN is also contemplating a bid in a Tunisian company and an offer to be part of a consortium to purchase 49 percent of an Iranian GSM company. MTN is exploring these acquisitions to secure a larger stake in developing markets after its unsuccessful attempt to acquire Celtel, a 13-country sub-Saharan African operator.

For more on MTN's acquisition of Mascom Wireless:
- see this piece from

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