Redemption of Tigo by Wari when financial services focus on telephony

  • May 26, 2017

The Senegalese Wari Group, which specializes in money transfers and financial services, acquired the telecommunications company Tigo, a subsidiary of the multinational telecom company Millicom International Cellular (MIC), in February 2017. A financial operation that will undoubtedly sign the entry of Wari in the big league. It is the news in the beginning of this 2017 year that gave a lot of pride to the business circles and the Senegalese public opinion. The acquisition of the telephony company Tigo by the Wari Group, specialized in domestic money transfers and financial services. The deal, which was being negotiated since January with leaks in the specialized press, came to an unfortunate end in early February. In the joint press release signed by the two companies, it is said that the local money transfer group Wari has bought Tigo, Senegal’s second largest telecom operator. The transaction cost US$ 129 million, or about 80 billion CFA francs. This operation is thus presented as a first in the telecommunications and financial services sectors, and also in the sub-region of West Africa. Before the sale of Tigo Senegal, the Milicom group had sold in early 2016, its subsidiary in the Democratic Republic of Congo in Orange, for 160 million dollars or nearly 99 billion CFA francs. The number two mobile phone company in Senegal, far behind Sonatel which belongs to the Orange group, Tigo had 3.9 million customers at the end of September 2016, with a market share of 24%. This operation, beyond the pride it gives to the Senegalese private sector, is seen as a giant leap forward for national businessmen who must think bigger now.

The Wari group set up by businessman Kabirou Mbodje in 2008 has seen a dazzling rise in the way it has democratized and facilitated the transfer of money and some services like bill payment. In the press release signed during the operation, Kabirou Mbodje, CEO of Wari stressed that this acquisition is a decisive step in the strategy of the Wari Group to create a real social added value for the Senegalese and African populations. “We remain convinced that it’s private African initiatives, such as the one we have just taken, combined with the unconditional support of the Public Service and all the populations, which will allow the major advances in our economies and the development of the African continent. Our aim is to pool the energies and expertise of our teams and two Groups and to create a Wari Community in order to offer consumers the best services, always cheaper and closer. This new entity, composed of Wari and Tigo, is at the service of the populations. It belongs to all Senegalese because created by Wari, an International Group, born in Senegal”, he said in the statement

On its ambitions, Kabirou Mbodje wants, in the short term, to make the offer of Tigo more attractive and ensure that quality is undeniable. “We want more support by the Senegalese populations who showed great enthusiasm with the acquisition of Tigo. The challenge is to ensure that the quality, the plurality of services and their cost are undeniable. That is what we want in the short term. After that, it will be to build another offer that will be more alternative. The idea is to have this ecosystem that has succeeded in Wari and to reproduce it through the partnership Tigo – Wari”, he said in an interview granted to the newspaper Le Soleil, the following day of the repurchase of Tigo. Wari, the leading financial services platform in Senegal, is present in 60 countries and provides services to more than 200 million customers across its network.

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