21 years after founding Mascom, Econet founder Strive Masiyiwa plans to take the Mobile Network Operator (MNO) to the public. Mascom, for Masiyiwa Communications, was Mr Masiyiwa’s first telecoms business which he founded the previous year before launching Econet.
After holding a considerable stake in Masom, he sold it to MTN on the understanding that he would buy it again in future. And he did so. Las month, Mr Masiyiwa bought MTN’s stake for $300 million- MTN made a good return as they had initially bought Masiyiwa’s stake for a little less than $ 70 million.
So once the acquisition of the stake is completed, that’s when the billionaire will set the wheels of taking the MNO public.
After a few months of negotiating, we reached a deal. I’m paying them $300m, which means they have done very well, as they originally paid less than $70m. During our original bid, I told the government of Botswana that my vision was to take the company public once it was profitable. I wanted to achieve something which I did in Zimbabwe, and sell shares to thousands of ordinary people. For the last 21 years I have been unable to fulfill this promise because my company did not control enough shares. As soon as we complete the acquisition of the MTN shares, I have already instructed our management to begin a sale process to ordinary Botswana citizens! In what I hope will be the biggest public listing ever undertaken in Botswana, I want to sell shares to anyone who can raise about 100 Pula (about $10). According to Facebook, my platform here has 77,000 members in Botswana. My hope is that some of you entrepreneurs will join me, and become shareholders of the company.