The Nigerian government has approved the USD 2.5 billion sale of its national telecommunications company to a consortium led by China Unicom, eight months after a confusing auction led to delays. The Nigerian privatization body Bureau for Public Enterprise (BPE) said in a statement that President Goodluck Jonathan has approved the offer from New Generation Telecommunications Consortium, which will pay a bid security of USD 750 million as a pre-condition for the issuance of an offer letter in its bid to acquire Nitel and M-tel. The consortium has 10 days to pay the bid security and 60 days to pay the full bid amount, according to the BPE statement. China Unicom, part of the winning consortium, originally denied taking part in the bid for Nitel in February but later acknowledged that its European subsidiary, China Unicom (Europe) Operations, had expressed interest in a technical partnership and in the possibility of acquiring a 20 percent equity stake if the bid was approved. A Nigerian government committee set up to review the bid process recommended that the deal be approved. The consortium includes Minerva Group, a Dubai-based company that was to provide the financing for the bid.