AccessKenya Sees Shareholders Accepting NTT Takeover Offer

AccessKenya Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Somen said he expects shareholders to back Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp.’s takeover offer for the company, based on feedback he’s received.

Dimension Data Holdings Plc, the South African unit of Tokyo-based NTT, offered in May to buy AccessKenya for 3.05 billion shillings ($35 million). Somen’s family, which owns about 30 percent of the stock, committed to sell its shares and the board recommended that remaining investors accept the bid.

“The offer from Dimension Data is good for the shareholders, and people that I have spoken to informally have said they are happy with it and will be sending back their acceptances,” Somen said in an interview yesterday in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital.

AccessKenya is the only publicly traded Internet provider in Kenya and the best-performing stock on the Nairobi Securities Exchange this year, having more than doubled. The company has about 5,000 corporate customers linked to a fiber-optic network that runs from Nairobi to the port city of Mombasa.

Dimension Data, which operates in 51 countries across five continents, said it’s acquiring AccessKenya as part of its strategy to expand in sub-Saharan Africa. Support from stockholders representing 75 percent plus one share in AccessKenya is required by the close of the offer period on Aug. 14 to complete the transaction.

Offer Premium

Trade in AccessKenya’s stock on the Nairobi Securities Exchange was suspended at 9.55 shillings on May 6 when the offer of 14 shillings a share was made.

Somen said he’ll remain CEO for at least two years after the takeover is concluded, while his brother David, director of strategy and special projects, will continue in his position for at least one year.

“People need to understand this has been 13 years of my life,” he said. “I have no intention of going anywhere.”

There are no plans to eliminate any of the 340 jobs at AccessKenya, while 45 employees of Internet Solutions Ltd., a wholly owned unit of Dimension Data, will be brought into AccessKenya, Somen said.

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