Two of Kenya’s Internet service providers (ISPs) Kenya Data Networks (KDN) and SwiftGlobal will soon merge their operations once the new major shareholder Liquid Telecom completes the acquisition.
According to regulatory filings at the Johannesburg Securities Exchange (JSE), Liquid Telecom, a UK-based company specializing in wholesale Internet provision, bought the entire shareholding from the previous SwiftGlobal owners, Altech and business man Naushad Merali.
Altech owned 51 percent of SwiftGlobal, while Merali owned the remaining. In the recent deal, the two shareholders have sold off large chunks of their shareholding in both SwiftGlobal and KDN, making Liquid the new major shareholders.
In its disclosure documents to JSE, Altech said: “Liquid intends transferring ASG (Swift Global) to KDN post the transaction. This places Liquid in a sound position to further develop these businesses.”
Competition has lately increased in the Kenya data market with KDN’s competitors including Safaricom, Wananchi Telecoms and Access Kenya causing it to drop its market share to 29 percent from 36.7 percent in.
Despite this, KDN has remained the top ISP in Kenya, with its main competitors Wananchi Telecoms and Access Kenya having a 27 percent and 14 percent market share. In June last year, Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) placed SwiftGlobal’s market share at 1.5 percent.
The competition aside, Altech and businessman Merali’s decision to sell of large portions of internet business has raised questions, even as Kenya continues to witness a soaring number of Internet users every year.
While making its exit, Altech said that KDN and SwiftGlobal will need more capital to advance its operations in the country, hence the reason behind their departure.