Zimbabwean newspaper ZimOnline reports that a 60% stake in the country's state-owned incumbent telco TelOne is being targeted as a potential purchase target by its larger fixed line counterpart in South Africa, Telkom SA.
TelOne spokesperson Collin Wilbesi confirmed the firm was negotiating with a foreign partner, but was not at liberty to identify them. 'We are currently engaged in discussions with some party that we cannot disclose at the moment because of the non-disclosure agreement that we have signed with them. Our negotiations are at a very advanced stage such that we would not wish to jeopardise them by divulging details in the press,' Wilbesi said.
South African government sources said Telkom had already conducted due diligence on the loss-making TelOne, which is bereft of funding for network improvements. The report continued however, that the Zimbabwean government is thought to be reluctant to offer Telkom a controlling stake in the telco, in line with a law preventing a foreign company from owning more than 49% of TelOne. However, Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has said the state was open to discussions on the controversial Empowerment Bill.