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BUA Group reportedly also eyeing Etisalat’s former Nigerian arm.

Virgin Media and Vodacom are the latest players to be named as potential buyers of 9mobile, the telco until recently known as Etisalat Nigeria.

Sources cited in a ThisDay report on Sunday said that local infrastructure and food producer BUA Group is also interested in purchasing the operator.

According to the report, the three companies are preparing to file expressions of interest in acquiring 9mobile to the consortium of banks that took control of the company in June, after former parent, U.A.E.-based Etisalat, missed a $1.2 billion (€1.04 billion) loan repayment.

The report claimed that several former senior executives of MTN Nigeria, which like Etisalat has run into its fair share of problems in the country, are behind the Virgin Mobile bid for 9mobile. Virgin Mobile is allegedly prepared to absorb the $1.2 billion debt owed by the company.

Vodacom meanwhile is 70% owned by U.K.-based Vodafone, which was named in a Brandish report earlier in July as a potential suitor, alongside France’s Orange.

In addition, a recent Economic Times report cited an investor note that suggested India-based Bharti Airtel, which already operates in Nigeria, might be interested in acquiring its smaller rival.

Last week, Boye Olusanya, the new CEO of the newly rebranded 9mobile, said the he was open to a "good offer" for the company.

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