The South African operator has rejected a takeover offer from the Public Investment Corporation, a consortium led by former CEO Sipho Maseko

This week, struggling South African telco Telkom has announced it has rejected yet another takeover offer, this time from a consortium led by the company’s previous boss, Sipho Maseko.

The Public Investment Corporation consortium, comprising Axian Telecom, Afrifund Investments Proprietary, and the Government Employees Pension Fund, approached Telkom with an unsolicited offer last month.

Financial details of the offer were not revealed, though reports suggested the company was seeking a majority stake in the operator.

According to a stock exchange filing, Telkom’s board considered the offer at length, including asking the consortium to provide additional clarity around certain elements of their offer, before ultimately rejecting the bid.

The news saw Telkom’s share price fall by 7%.

That this bid was rejected by Telkom should not come as too great a surprise. Commenting on the unsolicited bid at the company’s latest financial results presentation last month, current Telkom CEO Serame Taukobong said that “we do not need a knight in shining armour, be it my former employee or my former employer”.

He added that takeover proposals would not be considered “until somebody comes to our [board] chair with a strong letter and also proof that they can deliver”.

Telkom’s shares have fallen roughly 40% in the last 18 months, with the company struggling under the weight of high inflation and the most severe energy crisis facing South Africa for many years.

As a result, the company has been considering numerous tie-ups with its local rivals over the past year, having held discussions to with both MTN and Rain to combine their operator businesses. Ultimately, however, all of these discussions have fallen through before formal offers were made.

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