Econet Wireless, the African mobile telecoms giant owned by Zimbabwe’s richest man, Strive Masiyiwa, is acquiring a 53% stake in Mascom Wireless, Botswana’s largest mobile operator, for an estimated $300 million.
In a statement issued by MTN on Thursday on the sidelines of releasing its 2018 financials, the South African company said it is selling its stake in Mascom and withdrawing from the Botswana market as the company seeks to reduce the number of countries in which the company operates, while embarking on a drive to raise at least $1.1 billion from asset sales to strengthen its balance sheet.
Strive Masiyiwa’s founded Mascom in the late nineties, before he obtained a license to launch Econet Wireless after a protracted court battle with Zimbabwean government authorities. The name Mascom was derived from Masiyiwa Communications. Masiyiwa subsequently sold a controlling stake in the business to Portugal Telecom and subsequently MTN, while Econet remained a minority shareholder.
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