03-11-19 by Spotlight Zimbabwe

Masiyiwa To Acquire Botswana’s Mascom For $300 Million

Mfonobong Nsehe

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 25: Group Executive Chairman for Econet Wireless Global Strive Masiyiwa speaks onstage during the 2018 Concordia Annual Summit - Day 2 at Grand Hyatt New York on September 25, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for Concordia Summit)

 

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.

Masiyiwa, 58, is Zimbabwe’s richest man with a fortune FORBES estimates at $2.3 billion.

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