Home » Africa’s first Black billionaire-linked telecom firm to state case in Vodacom-BVI merger

Africa’s first Black billionaire-linked telecom firm to state case in Vodacom-BVI merger

Rain Limited, mobile communications company linked to Motsepe, set to present case in Vodacom-BVI merger

by Omokolade Ajayi
Patrice Motsepe

Rain Limited, a mobile communications company partly owned by Africa’s first Black billionaire Patrice Motsepe has secured the right to present its case in the ongoing merger hearing involving Vodacom and Business Venture Investments (BVI). 

The Competition Tribunal has granted Rain Limited and MTN Group, permission to intervene — allowing them to voice concerns and opinions on the potential impact of the proposed merger.

Vodacom’s merger with BVI triggers competition assessment

The move marks a significant development in the regulatory review of the proposed merger of Vodacom, South Africa’s largest fiber infrastructure player, and BVI, the country’s leading mobile operator. MTN will use this opportunity to argue whether the merger could affect competition in the sector. 

For Rain, which is partly owned by Paul Harris, Michael Jordaan, and Patrice Motsepe — who ranks as Africa’s first Black billionaire and the wealthiest Black individual in Southern Africa — the focus will be on its ability to compete in respect of retail internet services and mobile services as a result of portfolio effects and bundling.

Vodacom’s resilience in the face of pushback on Maziv’s stake acquisition

Toward the end of 2021, Vodacom expressed interest in acquiring a 30-percent stake in Maziv’s ordinary shares — a stake controlled by BVI. The merger is expected to bring together South Africa’s largest fiber infrastructure player and its largest mobile operator.

However, earlier this year, South Africa’s Competition Commission advised the Competition Tribunal to block the deal — citing concerns about its potential impact on both competition and public interest. It also argued that the conditions proposed by the merging parties were insufficient to address these concerns.

Despite regulatory reservations, Vodacom remains steadfast in its support for the merger, revealing that the deal would be beneficial for all stakeholders. It also expressed readiness to defend the proposed merger during tribunal proceedings.

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