Fried Frank advised leading pan-African telecoms group Liquid Telecommunications Holdings Limited (Liquid Telecom) in relation to a US$180 million investment by the UK Government's CDC Group Plc (CDC). This is the largest equity investment by CDC in Africa to date, and will enable Liquid Telecom to expand its high-speed broadband connectivity to some of the most underserved communities across the African continent, including supporting Africa's thriving tech start-up ecosystem with high-speed internet and cloud-based services.
“We are delighted to have been involved in a transaction that is making a substantial impact on the development and connectivity of Africa and its people by increasing the availability of mobile phones, internet, fiber optics networks, and the latest technologies,” said Ashar Qureshi, head of EMEA Transactions. “Fried Frank's considerable experience globally in acting for telecommunications companies, combined with the arrival of the new London team, have allowed us to provide a best-in-class service to Liquid Telecom.”
CDC, the world's first development financial institution, invests in commercially sustainable and socially and environmentally responsible businesses that service developing countries, with a geographic focus on Africa and South Asia. In 2017, CDC made new commitments of US$1.4 billion and its portfolio value increased to US$5.3 billion.
Liquid Telecom is a leading communications solutions provider across 13 countries primarily in Eastern, Central, and Southern Africa that serves mobile operators, carriers, enterprise, media and content companies, and retail customers with high-speed, reliable connectivity, hosting and co-location and digital services. It has built Africa's largest independent fiber network, approaching 70,000km, and operates state-of-the-art data centers in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Nairobi, with a combined potential 19,000 square meters of rack space and 80 MW of power. This is in addition to offering leading cloud-based services, such as Microsoft Office365, Microsoft Azure and innovative digital content provision including Netflix and Kwesé TV across its fiber footprint.
The Fried Frank team in London was led by corporate partner Ashar Qureshi and included corporate special counsel Simon Saitowitz and Taylor Souter.
The closing follows the recent addition of Mr. Qureshi and his team to Fried Frank's London office.