G. Elias & Co. advised on a seminal private sector investment in the telecommunications sector that is widely acknowledged to be the most successful ever in that sector: the initial investment by Nigerian investors and a private equity firm in what has become Nigeria’s largest GSM operator. We have advised on bids for, renewals of and re-validations of telecommunications licences, on waivers for infractions of the terms of licences, on getting regulatory consent to assignments of and charges over the licences, and of the regulation of electronic payment services and “bitcoins”. Perhaps our most notable mergers and acquisitions transactions in the sector have been the privatization trade sale of the old government nationwide telecommunications monopoly and the largest sale of tower assets in Nigerian history, by a GSM operator.
We have also advised on print production, publishing and advertising contracts and regulation, on contracts to develop and manage artistes, and on agreements to produce, finance and distribute motion pictures. We have also advised on establishing and structuring companies and limited partnerships to invest in these sectors. On all of the foregoing areas, and on computer software and hardware, we have advised on the creation, protection, regulation and licensing of trademarks, copyrights and other intellectual property rights, and have represented clients in a wide range of disputes in courts and in arbitration
Some of our key experiences are as follows:
- Advising MTN Nigeria Ltd. (Nigeria’s biggest telecommunications company) on it proposed initial public offer.
- Advised the Lenders consisting of African Export and Import Bank and Diamond Bank Plc on a US$300 million guarantee credit facility to Smile Communications Ltd., a GB LTE Mobile broadband provider, for the expansion of its market reach.
- Advised MTN Nigeria Ltd. on its successful sale and leaseback of about 10,000 telecommunications masts and tower assets to HIS Telecommunications Nigeria for US$1.8 billion.
- Advised Swap Technology Plc on the acquisition of telecommunication towers owned by Starcomms Plc under a sale and leaseback arrangement. As part of the transaction, we conducted extensive “due diligence” exercise on the seller’s title to the telecommunications towers.
- Advised a Goldman Sachs entity on investing indirectly in MTN Nigeria Limited, a complex transaction rich in tax-planning features and with both equity and debt elements.
- Advised Mastercard Nigeria on the regulatory aspects of its Decision Intelligence card payment software and on an Anti-Money Laundering technology tool for deployment in its activities in Nigeria.
- Advised Coca-Cola Nigeria on regulatory challenges in running certain promotions (chiefly lottery and Consumer Protection Council regulations).
- Advised Reuters Limited in law suits filed against Reuters by the News Agency of Nigeria.
- Advising on management contracts between leading indigenous musical artistes and their respective managers.
For more information on G. Elias’ telecommunications, media and technology expertise, please contact Gbolahan Elias and Fred Onuobia.