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O&O Network Appeals Court Order to Deposit N22.5Bn for Airtel Shares

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O&O Network has filed a notice of appeal against the ruling of the Federal high court ordering it to deposit N22.5 billion with the chief registrar of the court pending the determination of the substantive suit.

 

Mojisola Olatoregun, presiding judge, stated that the sanctity of the court must be protected. She ordered further that the money should be kept in an interest yielding account in a commercial bank at the Central Bank of Nigeria interest rate.

 

Justice Olatoregun later adjourned till 29 May, 2019 for hearing of the substantive suit.

 

The $28,728,125 suit was jointly instituted by a Nigerian Industrial mogul Oba Otudeko and his company, Broad communications Limited against a cellular mobile telecommunications company, Airtel Networks Limited (formerly known as Econet Wireless Nigeria Limited )and 9 others.

 

The order of the court was sequel to an application filed before the court by the plaintiffs, Oba Otudeko and his company, Broad Communications Limited, urging the court to direct one of the defendants, O&O Network Limited to deposit the sum of N22.5 billion being the sum of a purported transfer of 16,002,404 shares of Airtel, into an interest yielding account in the name of the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court to be domicile at Zenith Bank or First Bank pending the determination of the instant suit by the court.

 

Joined as co -defendants in the suit filed before a Federal high court in Lagos south west Nigeria are: a promoter of Airtel Jubril Adewale Tinubu, with 9,906,250 shares being 9.9% voting capital, O&0 Networks limited, Delta ministry of Finance Incorporated, Delta State Government, Corporate Affairs Commission, Econet wireless Limited, Econet Development Corporation,Ecobank Nigeria limited, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated.

 

The plaintiffs alleged that by order of the court issued on the 5th of February, 2015 the court mandated parties to maintain status quo in respect of shares held in Airtel Network Limited.

 

However notwithstanding the orders made by the court, O&O Network entered into arrangement for the sale and transfer of shares in Airtel Network limited to Bharti Airtel Nigeria BV. for the sum of N22.5billion.

 

The transfer of the shares to Bharti Airtel Nigeria BV, was alleged to be in violation of the order of the court.

 

According to an amended statement of claim filed on behalf of Oba Otudeko and Broad communications Limited by Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, OFR, the plaintiffs alleged that sometime in 2011, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated acquired the defunct Oceanic bank Plc with all its liabilities and assets which at the time of acquisition included the 3rd defendant O&0 Network limited.

 

Prior to the acquisition of Oceanic bank the plaintiffs became aware that the 4th defendant, Delta State ministry of Finance incorporated and the 5th defendant Delta State Government purportedly transfer their beneficial ownership in the shares of the O&0 Network Limited back to 2nd defendant, Jubril Adewale Tinubu who subsequently purported to have transferred the shares to Oceanic bank Plc as part of a process of securitization and foreclosure arising from loans advanced to him by Oceanic bank.

 

The plaintiffs stated further that in the course of promoting Airtel, it was a fundamental term that in order to facilitate financing arrangements, Nigerian individual shareholders would take their shares in their own names or by the agency of their respective nominee vehicles. By this agreement Oba Otudeko was to hold directly or indirectly, 15% of the ordinary shares and Jubril Adewale Tinubu was to hold directly or indirectly about 10% of the ordinary shares of the company.

 

Further to the above arrangement and as preliminary step toward the acquisition of 40% equity stake in Airtel, Oba Otudeko and Adewale Tinubu through a special purpose corporate vehicle called First Independent Network limited FINL, executed a settlement agreement dated 11 June 2001,with Econet International Limited.

 

It was also selected fundamental term of the agreement that Nigerians would hold 40% of the ordinary shares and that Econet Wireless International EWI, being the original technical partner would hold 40%,while 20% was reserved for Transtel -a South African company.

 

Oba Otudeko took 13,035,936 shares in the name of Broad communication and 187,500 in his own name while Adewale Tinubu took 9,906,250 shares in the name of Ocean &Oil services and later transferred same to O&0 Network .

 

The shareholders agreement confers on the shareholders a’ ‘right of first refusal’ in relation to the disposal of shares or interest therein by any conceivable means;and outline procedures to be followed for giving notice of intention to dispose and further mechanism for dealing with such shares.

 

The plaintiffs alleged further that sometime in 2005, without any formal or informal notice they became aware that in 2001 and 2003, Jubril Adewale Tinubu acting as the alter ego of O&0 Network reached secret agreements to transfer all the company’s share in Airtel to Delta State ministry of Finance incorporated and Delta State Government for a premium.

 

The 9,906,250 ordinary shares of the O&0 Network sold, in breach of the plaintiffs pre -emptive right was valued at $4.50 thereby amounting to $44,578,125.

 

The transaction was deliberately concealed from the plaintiffs and other shareholders with Adewale Tinubu continuing to represent that he represented himself rather than the Delta State ministry of finance incorporated and Delta State Government on the board of Directors of Airtel.

 

The plaintiffs averred that Adewale Tinubu and one David Edevbie, the then commissioner for Finance and Economic Planning in Delta State made statements to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC in or about August-November 2004 admitting that the respective transactions entered into between them had the sole objective of dealing in the shares of Airtel contrary to the agreement and the understandings binding parties and other shareholders in the Airtel company.

 

On 11th of March, 2013,the plaintiffs divested their interest in the Aitel Company.

 

The value of the 9,906,250 ordinary shares sold by Adewale Tinubu and O&0 Network to Delta State ministry of finance incorporated and Delta State Government in breach of the Plaintiffs pre -emptive rights had appreciated in value from $4.5 per share to $7.4 per share as at the time the plaintiffs divested their interest in the Airtel company amounting to $73,306,250, consequently the differential in the value of the shares when the plaintiffs divested their interest amounts to $28,728,125.

 

The plaintiffs claim against the defendants jointly and severally are as follows:

 

An order mandating the defendants to pay the Plaintiffs the sum of $28,728,125 being the interest /profit accrued on the 9,906,250, ordinary shares sold in breach of the plaintiffs pre -emptive rights in the Airtel Company.

 

Interest on same at the rate of 23% per annum from 15th July, 2003 till judgement is delivered.

Cost of this legal action assessed at N100 million.

 

However, In an affidavit in support of statement of defence sworn to by Airtel legal officer Kingsley Anyiam, filed on behalf of Airtel by a Lagos lawyer, Barrister C. A.Candide-Johnson SAN, the deponent averred that Airtel was not privy to the facts that led up to the dispute, as relayed by the Plaintiffs in their statement of claim.

 

In addition Airtel is not a party to the shareholders agreement which forms the crux of this dispute, as the shareholders agreement was entered strictly among the shareholders of Airtel as at the relevant time of this suit.

 

Consequently the Plaintiffs statement of claim do not have any adverse reliefs against Airtel. Therefore, Airtel need not be party to this suit in order to comply with any lawful order of the court.

 

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Glo Gains 78% of New Data Subscription in GSM Sector in March – NCC Report

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Nigeria’s second largest telecommunications operator, Globacom, garnered 78 percent of new data subscriptions in the month of March, 2019. The operator gained nearly one million new subscribers in the month.

This was disclosed in the latest statistics released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for the month of March 2019. According to the statistics, Globacom gained 950,115 new internet users, taking its total internet subscriptions to 28,436,386 from 27,486,271 recorded in February, 2019.

Two other operators, MTN and Airtel, also featured marginally on the gainers’ list in March. Airtel added 351,657 new internet users, while MTN added 13,552 subscribers. 9mobile, on its part, lost 166,542 users in the month under review.

Overall internet users in Nigeria increased to 115,938,225 in March from 114,725,357 recorded in February, according to the NCC statistics. This indicates an increase of 1,212,868 new subscribers in one month.

Globacom has been on ascendancy in terms of acquisition of new internet subscribers in the last one year ostensibly due to the consistent improvement in the operator’s data services.

The company has the widest 4G LTE coverage in the country, and the technology ensures more reliable and faster internet usage experience. Globacom also has the most attractive data plans in the market, with packages that appeal to both high and low data users.

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Streaming Global, DataGo Solutions Ink Deal to Accelerate OTT/VOD Streaming Market in Africa

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L-R: Gbenga George, Co-founder, DataGo Solutions and Richard Oesterreicher, CEO, Streaming Global, exchanging handshake after the signing ceremony
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Marking its first step towards an international market, Streaming Global has joined forces with DataGo Solutions as its first exclusive reseller for an overseas territory.

 

The deal covers the entire continent of Africa where, according to the forecast performed by Digital TV Research, the OTT market value will exceed $1 Billion by 2024.

 

This partnership drives Streaming Global’s continued mission to enable the reliable, scalable, and cost-effective delivery of live, OTT, and VOD video streaming services over the Internet.

 

Richard Oesterreicher, CEO, Streaming Global, said “We are overjoyed to have DataGo Solutions as Streaming Global’s exclusive reseller for this emerging market.

 

“The growing infrastructure there fits well with Streaming Global’s reliable and simple streaming delivery pipeline.”

 

DataGo Solutions founders, Gbenga George and Nicholas Horton, have extensive backgrounds and knowledge in the emerging African OTT/VOD market.

 

Horton is a technology leader with over 14 years of industry experience, driving business growth and market penetration both in the US and abroad.

 

George is a technology investor and lawyer with over 18 years of industry experience in various disciplines including intellectual property, contract negotiation, and market adoption.

 

“We view this technology as a true innovation in OTT/VOD and live streaming content that will become the new standard for the next decade.

 

“We couldn’t be happier to have the opportunity to take this technology to market for the continent of Africa and redefine the streaming industry,” said George.

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Arik Air takes deliver of another aircraft from maintenance

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Arik Air, Nigeria’s leading airline on Thursday welcomed another aircraft fresh from maintenance overseas.

The arrival of the aircraft, a Boeing 737-800 Next Generation (NG) is coming eight days after a Boeing 737-700NG returned to service from C-check on Wednesday, May 15, 2019.

 

The Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft is a stretched version of the 737-700 aircraft.

 

Captain Roy Ilegbodu, Chief Executive Officer, Arik Air, reiterated the airline’s mission which is “To become a dominant air-services brand, globally admired for its world-leading operating, safety and service delivery standards, as well as its role in promoting Nigeria’s reputation at home and abroad”.

 

Captain Ilegbodu once again thanked customers for their loyalty and trust in Arik Air.

 

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