Lebara up for sale – but only to the right partner


CEO of ethnic MVNO says sale will not be motivated purely by money, but is listening to investors

Lebara Mobile CEO Ratheesan Yoganathan (pictured) has told Mobile News he has rejected “several” offers from businesses looking to buy the Ethnic MVNO in the past 18 months.

He refused, however, to name which companies the offers were from. Speaking exclusively to Mobile News, Yoganathan said he is now listening to offers from investors to buy into or take control of Lebara.

But he says any deal would be based on assurances the current levels of service offered to its customers and value of its shares to shareholders would not be compromised. He insists any sale would not be “motivated” purely by money.

Lebara appointed the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to “explore new strategic opportunities” in July on the back of posting revenues of £500 million across its European and Australian markets for the year ending December 2010.

Yoganathan said the company would require a substantial amount of investment as part of its plans to move into new territories – again declining to specify exactly which areas.

Yoganathan said: “We are evaluating what has been achieved and what else we can do. There are more territories Lebara can go into, which need an investment – a significant investment.

“We know there is a huge market penetration we can go after and new territories that we can go after, and we will take that opportunity by having the right partner with us. Someone we can work with and there is a synergy with them, rather than just money.

“We need someone who really appreciates and understands this market.”