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South African giants scoop Kenyan ICT firm

\"\"NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 24 – Kenya’s Business Communication Solutions Provider UUNET is set to re-brand after it was acquired by two major South African companies.

UUNET Kenya Managing Director Tom Omariba disclosed on Wednesday that the company would be rebranded to reflect new shareholders MTN Business and Telkom South Africa who have acquired a 70 percent stake in the firm.

“Between those two shareholders, they have formed a vehicle where MTN has 60 percent shareholding and Telkom SA has 40 percent. That vehicle comes to Kenya to combine with the 30 percent local shareholding. With this structure, we are going to have a re-branding this year to have that clarity in identity,” he said.

The last few months have seen increased acquisitions of local ICT firms by foreigners in what critics say is an indication of a need for capital injections in these companies.

At a media briefing, the UUNET MD said the partnership with the two players gives them a Pan-African reach and enables them to offer extensive business communication solutions to their clients.

Coupled with the capacity from undersea fibre optic cables such as SEACOM and TEAMs and the EASSY cables, he said this would provide diversity and offers different routes where information can be transmitted in a speedy and efficient way.

“Africa has always communicated with the rest of the world through Europe or the USA but now there’s an opportunity and it’s possible to communicate effectively and efficiently within the continent,” he said.

He therefore challenged local firms to leverage on this footprint and extend their businesses across the continent.

“If you want to be a global player, it is important that you partner with firms that have a global presence,” he added.

Mr Omariba said they would continue to focus on the provision of business communications solutions and denied claims that they plan to venture into the mobile service arena.

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“We have no plans to enter into GSM market even though MTN Business is the data side of MTN group. We are a solutions expert and have experience in the provision of business communication solutions in the region and that is where we will continue to focus,” he added.

The firm recently installed a Sh75 million virtual storage facility to enable it host multiple logical data segments from its offices.

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