By Ivan Edwards

Airtel Africa PLC on Thursday said it sold a USD100 million stake in its Airtel Mobile Commerce subsidiary to Mastercard
Inc at a valuation of USD2.65 billion.

HONG KONG, CHINA – 2021/03/25: American multinational investment bank, Citibank or Citi, branch displays their ATM credit card payment system offerings Visa Inc, Mastercard, Union Pay, Jetco, Visa Plus, Maestro, Cirrus in Hong Kong. (Photo by Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Shares in Airtel Africa were up 2.4% to 81.20 pence in London.

Airtel Africa, a telecommunications company based in London and operating in 14 African countries, also said it extended its partnership and signed a new commercial framework with Mastercard.

Mastercard is the second company to invest in the mobile payments business, after US private equity firm TPG bought a USD200 million stake in March at the same valuation. The price tags suggest that Mastercard bought a 3.8% stake and TPG a 7.5% one.

Airtel Africa plans sell up to 25% of Airtel Mobile Commerce, which would be worth USD662.5 million based on the valuation agreed by TPG and Mastercard.

The proceeds from the sale will be used to cut debt and invest in network and sales infrastructure, Airtel Africa said.

“This is a continuation of our strategy to increase the minority shareholding in our mobile money business with the further intention to list this business within four years,” Chief Executive Raghunath Mandava said.