Naspers, Didata said to be in talks to sell South African venture VAST

Naspers and a South African unit of Nippon Telegraph & Telephone are in talks to sell their joint venture in the country to fiber-optic infrastructure company Link Africa, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Investec is managing the sale of VAST Networks, for which Link has offered R450 million, said the sources, asking not to be identified because the details are private. The deal is not yet final and terms could change, said two of the people.

Naspers, owns 51% of VAST, which according to its website is Africa’s largest public Wi-Fi network, while NTT’s Johannesburg-based Dimension Data, holds the balance.

Naspers declined to comment. Representatives for Dimension Data, Link Africa and Investec didn’t immediately respond to emails and phone messages seeking comment.

VAST was started in 2015 to provide open-access Wi-Fi network infrastructure in South Africa and holds a number of exclusive agreements with businesses.

For Link Africa, which lays fiber networks, the asset is attractive because it anticipates 5G networks being rolled out in South Africa. Those need high cellphone density.

* Fin24 is part of 24.com, a division of Media24, which is a subsidiary of Naspers.

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