BY CHIMA AKWAJA, 17 DECEMBER 2013
MTN has acquired 33.3 per cent equity in Africa Internet Holding (AIH), an exclusive vehicle to develop e-commerce businesses across the continent.
AIH is the parent company of Jumia, one of Nigeria's leading online retail sites. The partnership will enable MTN extend online retail and other essential digital services on the African continent.
MTN, Rocket Internet and Millicom International Cellular each acquired 33.3 per cent equity in Africa Internet Holding. Founded in 2012 as a joint venture between Rocket Internet and Millicom International Cellular, AIH is a leading internet group in Africa, with presence in 13 countries on the continent, including South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, Morocco, Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana.
The company has developed several successful e-commerce ventures in the last 18 months, including Jumia, Zando, Kaymu, Jovago, Lamudi, Carmudi, Easytaxi and Hellofood. Sifiso Dabengwa, MTN Group President and CEO, said yesterday that "We are excited to engage in a strategic partnership with Rocket Internet and Millicom to develop online ventures across the fast growing internet market of Africa. Rocket Internet's proven successful track record, coupled with Millicom".
Millicom President and CEO, Hans-Holger Albrecht, said "We are pleased to welcome MTN as a strategic partner to accelerate the growth of our online alliance in Africa. It is a significant vote of confidence in its future. Between us we have more than 220 million mobile customers in the continent with very limited overlap. MTN is the leader in Nigeria and South Africa, the largest markets for AIH currently, while Millicom contributes through its leading positions in our markets, combined with one of the most innovative product offerings."
The investment in AIH is in line with MTN's strategy of bringing the digital world to customers, adapting to their rapidly changing needs and delivering a consistent end-to-end user experience. The partnership brings together Rocket Internet's expertise in developing successful global internet business models, and Millicom and MTN's leadership position and unique knowledge of the local telecom markets.
"The strategic partnership between Rocket Internet, Millicom and MTN is unique and will enable AIH to reach more consumers with better services. We feel very strong about AIH's existing and future ventures in Africa and look forward to working with our new partner," said Oliver Samwer, Co-Founder of Rocket Internet.
The partnership is expected to create additional synergies for MTN in its core business. The investment is subject to regulatory approval, and the transaction is expected to close during the second quarter of 2014. "MTN will continue to pursue digital business adjacencies as one of its key strategic priorities to drive growth and value to our customers across Africa", said Dabengwa.