Safaricom expects its joint acquisition of rival yuMobile to be completed within months at a cost of about $120 million (Ksh. 10 billion), its Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore said.
Speaking in an interview at the U.S. â€“ Africa Leaders Summit, Colymore said objections to the deal raised by Kenyaâ€™s communications-industry regulator have been withdrawn. The company expects to submit the transaction for approval to the countryâ€™s competition authority soon .
Safaricom and Airtel had announced plans in March to buy yumobile, thatâ€™s owned by Essar Telecom Kenya Ltd. Safaricom will take over Essarâ€™s network base stations and transmission equipment.
Safaricom announced the planned acquisition after it failed to meet the regulatorâ€™s quality-of-service criteria in 2012-13, achieving a compliance level of 50 percent compared with the minimum of 80 percent, which the company had to attain to obtain a new license.
Airtel is set to take over Essarâ€™s 2.75 million subscribers and licenses. That would boost Airtelâ€™s Kenyan market share to 26.4 percent from 17.6 percent, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. Safaricomâ€™s share is about 67 percent, according to Communications Commission of Kenya data.
Collymore is optimistic that the deal can be completed in the next few months.