Vodacom Agrees to Modified Neotel Deal That Excludes Licenses

  • Neotel agreed to offer roaming to all mobile-network operators
  • Spectrum, electronic communications network services excluded

Vodacom Group Ltd., the South African unit of Vodafone Group Plc, and Neotel Pty Ltd. amended the terms of a proposed 7 billion-rand ($481 million) purchase of the Internet service provider, with the new deal excluding licenses.

Vodacom agreed to buy most of Neotel’s assets related to its fixed-line business, but this excludes permits for spectrum and electronic communications network services, the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement on Tuesday. Neotel will also offer a roaming arrangement to all mobile-network operators including Vodacom South Africa, the Vodafone unit said.

Vodacom said Nov. 23 it was in talks about restructuring the agreement, announced in May 2014, to buy Neotel from Tata Communications Ltd. of India. While the purchase was granted provisional approval by the country’s antitrust and communications regulators this year, it was opposed by competitors MTN Group Ltd., Cell C Pty Ltd. and Telkom SA SOC Ltd., which argued the tie-up would give Johannesburg-based Vodacom dominance of South Africa’s high-speed Internet market.

The revised transaction documents have been submitted to the Competition Tribunal, which will consider the deal at a prehearing scheduled for Dec. 10, Vodacom said.

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