The Kenyan Government has acquired a 60 percent stake in Telkom Kenya from a UK-based private equity fund, Helios Investment Partners, for Sh6.09 billion.
According to documents tabled in Parliament, the purchase was made by the Treasury without the approval of Parliament in the weeks to the inauguration of President William Ruto on September 13.
in 2007, France’s Orange bought a majority share in Telkom Kenya when it was privatized in 2007 but then sold it to London-based Helios Investment in 2015.
The buyout deal now values Telkom Kenya at Sh10 billion, equivalent to one percent of the Sh1 trillion valuation of Safaricom
According to BD, the State exercised its pre-emptive rights after Helios notified the government of its intention to exit Telkom. Pre-emptive rights are privileges extended to shareholders, giving them the preference to buy the stake in the business should one of the owners opt to exit.
“We bought the shares for Sh6 billion after Helios threatened to quit… We bought the shares because the government was afraid Helios was going to sell to an investor that did share the same vision with us in the turnaround of Telkom Kenya.”
Helios is the latest international operator to quit Kenya, where Safaricom, part-owned by Vodacom and Vodafone, has 67 percent of 36 million mobile users.
India’s Essar Telecom, Kuwait-owned Zain, and France’s Vivendi have quit Kenya over the past 20 years after failing to return profits in a market under the control of Safaricom.