MTN is yet to decide what portion of the subsidiary to sell, they said. It may aim to raise about $400 million, or roughly 10 percent of the stock, two of the people said.
An MTN spokesman declined to comment.
The company agreed to the listing in June 2016 as part of a $1 billion fine for missing a deadline to disconnect unregistered subscribers amid a security crackdown by Nigerian authorities. The penalty, originally set at $5.2 billion, led to the resignation of MTN’s then chief executive officer, a first ever full-year loss and a slump in the share price that’s yet to be clawed back.
MTN Nigeria has 52 million subscribers and generated 36 billion rand ($3 billion) of revenue in 2017, according to MTN’s financial statements. It made earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of 14 billion rand.
Rob Shuter, MTN’s current CEO, said in an interview this month that he expected the IPO to be finalized by the end of the year.
MTN is also selling shares of its Ghana unit, which has 19 million subscribers, in the capital, Accra. It may list a 35 percent stake there for almost $800 million, people familiar with the matter said in March.