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Harith General Partners media statement:
Leading telecoms investor Community Investment Ventures Holdings (CIVH) today announced that it has concluded a landmark transaction by restructuring the digital infrastructure assets of Vumatel, Dark Fibre Africa (DFA) and SA Digital Villages (SADV) ISP whilst concurrently merging with Vodacom’s network infrastructure – creating a market-leading, integrated fibre operating platform (Infraco).
This leverages the scale and capacity of Vumatel and Vodacom to provide affordable access to data for the broader South African population through a broad range of products to the enterprise and consumer segments of the market.
Harith, on behalf of its investors, holds a significant interest in CIVH. Through this investment, Harith’s investors have exposure to South Africa’s largest fibre network operator, Vumatel, and the leading provider of carrier-grade dark fibre, DFA.
Harith supports the strategic rationale for the infrastructure merger and believes that the best partner for CIVH to realise its ambitions of maintaining market leadership in SA, and expanding into the rest of Africa, is Vodacom. The transaction holds a number of strategic benefits for CIVH and ultimately, for Harith’s investors.
Vumatel and DFA operate on an open access basis, and the contribution of Vodacom’s assets will boost these open access networks. Open-access and network sharing is key to bridging the digital divide and ultimately leads to lower pricing for consumers and enterprises.
In addition to its fibre assets, Vodacom will inject cash to ultimately acquire a significant minority stake in InfraCo.
The transaction is subject to inter alia obtaining regulatory approvals.
Harith CEO Sipho Makhubela said: “Harith welcomes the significant potential to unlock growth and value for consumers that the InfraCo merger represents. Vumatel, as South Africa’s leading fibre network operator that passes more than 1 million homes, plays a pivotal role in bridging the digital gap in this country. This transaction will enhance this role as it will open up the Vodacom network which was otherwise closed and exclusively available to Vodacom. This comes at a pivotal time in our country when we need all hands-on deck to stimulate growth, and access to digital infrastructure is one proven way to boost our economy.”
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