French telecoms giant Orange Group has signed an agreement to sell its majority stake in Orange Uganda to Africell for an undisclosed sum, Reuters reports. The deal is subject to approval from authorities and is part of the group’s optimisation strategy to focus on markets in Africa and the Middle East. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Orange Group owns a 65.93% stake in the cellco which claimed a market share of just 3.0% at the end of 2013, with 618,000 subscribers. Its partner in the operator, HiTS Telecom, holds a 31.57% stake in the cellco but fell out with the French group in 2013, accusing Orange of mismanaging the company ‘beyond repair.’ In the lead-up to the deal, it was expected that a buyer would emerge from amongst Uganda’s many existing operators – following the acquisition of Warid Telecom Uganda by Indian-backed cellco Airtel Uganda in April last year there are seven operational cellcos in Uganda including MTN Uganda, Smile Communications, Smart Telecom and i-Tel in addition to those mentioned above. Market leader MTN was tipped as the most likely buyer after the cellco’s chief executive told press in March this year that mergers in Uganda’s crowded mobile sector were ‘inevitable’.
Uganda, Orange Group (formerly France Telecom), Orange Uganda (HiTS Telecom), Corporate/Financial, Mergers/Acquisitions