CCK and the competition authority have finally given a nod to the sale of yuMobile to Airtel and Safaricom. A day after the 3 operators used the media to give pressure to the regulator, CCK decided that the sale should go ahead with Safaricom and Airtel all in agreement with the deal.
Safaricom has offered $80 million (Ksh6.8 billion) for infrastructure while Airtel Kenya is set to pay $37.2 (Ksh 3.1 billion) million for the residual infrastructure, numbering prefix and subscribers (2.7 million). It is not clear how the assets and liabilities of ETKL or yuMobile will be handled but Airtel Kenya is demanding to retain up to $15 million (Ksh1.2 billion) to offset the over $7.2 million which yuMobile owes it in infrastructure share costs. Airtel Kenya has threatened not to clear their obligations if yuMobile will not allow it to retain the $15 million it is demanding.
Though media reports claimed that Safaricom was withdrawing from the deal, nothing could be further from the deal as Safaricom is very eager to acquire the fixed assets and spectrum which yuMobile has. This is far much better and of value than the fluid subscribers which Airtel Kenya seeks to inherit. Most of the subscribers might not stick with the new owner after the exit of Essar Telecoms.
The Indian owners of yuMobile do not want to let this deal slip as this is the best offer they have got for their struggling operation in Kenya.