Kenya's telecom regulator has conditionally allowed the nation's leading operator Safaricom and a unit of India's Bharti Airtel to acquire the assets of Essar Telecom Kenya, which operates under the brand yuMobile.
The applications by Safaricom and Airtel to acquire the assets of yuMobile have been approved subject to the three parties meeting conditions attached to the approval, the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) said in a statement.
"Among the conditions are that all firms involved be current in payment of the outstanding regulatory fees," according to the statement.
The buyers should ensure that all Yu subscribers retain their numbers and related contracts in the transition period and that Airtel submits the proposed service level agreement for subscribers acquired from Essar Telecom, it said.
The CCK has provided a transition period of six months to allow for seamless transfer of services from Essar Telecom Ltd to the two buyers.
"The compliance of the conditions will determine the final consent of the sale," it said.
Industry sources had earlier estimated the deal to be worth USD 90-100 million. This is Airtel's second acquisition and follows the purchase of the business and assets of Mumbai-based Loop Mobile in February for about Rs 700 crore.
Airtel declined to comment.
According to the CCK, Airtel seeks to acquire Yu's subscribers, GSM licenses and subscriber-related contracts while Safaricom expressed interest in acquiring Essar Telecom's infrastructure located on 453 sites and associated agreements.
Safaricom also sought transfer of the ground leases on which the infrastructure is situated, Essar Telecom's data centre in its existing office, the existing office space and related infrastructure, the right to use the spectrum and residual assets including IT infrastructure, it said.
"The Commission would want to uphold the principle of infrastructure sharing and in this regard, Safaricom has been requested to provide its proposed framework for sharing its overall passive and active infrastructure with other licensed operators and service providers," CCK Director General Francis Wangusi said.