Wananchi raises $57.5m funding

Wananchi plans to expand fibre network with $57.5m funding.
Wananchi Group offers services across East Africa.
Wananchi Group offers services across East Africa.

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Wananchi Group, a Kenya-based provider of broadband internet, VoIP and pay-TV in East Africa, has raised $57.5million in growth capital from a group of international investors including Liberty Global Inc, Oppenheimer Funds, and Sarona Asset Management.

The capital raised will be used to continue the deployment of the company’s fibre infrastructure, which it uses to offer triple-play service bundles to retail consumers in Kenya.

The funds will also be used to support the launch of Wananchi’s direct-to-home (DTH) satellite pay-TV offering in the greater East Africa region, comprising Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, Malawi and Somalia.

New investors in the financing round include Liberty Global Inc, Oppenheimer Funds, and Sarona Asset Management, a Canadian-based emerging markets fund manager seeking impact investments.

Existing Wananchi investors involved in the funding include East Africa Capital Partners (EACP), and Emerging Capital Partners (ECP), a pan-African private equity firm.

Bryce Fort, managing director at ECP said that Africa has “tremendous growth potential” in both the pay-TV and broadband internet segments.

“Wananchi’s cable, DTH and programming platforms combined with its strong management make the company ideally suited to capitalize on this growth by capturing the surplus consumer demand,” he said.

Wananchi’s consumer division operates under the ‘Zuku’ brand and provides Kenya’s only triple-play bundle including pay-TV, broadband Internet, and VoIP phone services.

Wananchi’s corporate division, which operates under the ‘SimbaNET’ brand, provides VSAT and data services to businesses in East Africa.
 

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