GO Telecom: From Zero to Hero – A Turnaround Tale

Published 15 Apr 2024
Reference 6874
Region Middle-East
Length 33 page(s)
Language English

This case focuses on the reasons for the 12-year deterioration of a major Saudi telecommunications company, the attempt to revive its fortunes by hiring a veteran telco executive as CEO, and the twists, turns, inventions and machinations of the top team that took the company from near-death to a growth story. The first part of the story looks at how ineffective management, lack of planning, indiscriminate asset sales, absence of a cost focus, poor operating controls (and perhaps denial) brought GO Telecom to its knees. The second part examines the critical 100 first days of the new CEO’s tenure, which bear the hallmarks of a traditional turnaround but also show how resorting to plans B, C, D, even E and exploiting legal loopholes - are sometimes necessary to make it through. Turnarounds, while usually disciplined and formulaic, can also require one to “bob and weave” to avoid getting knocked out. The third part deals with the next 18 months, describing how difficult ethically-based decisions reduced profits, depleted cash, sunk the stock, and eroded stakeholder confidence. Ultimately, the story has a positive ending and the outlook is encouraging: revenues are growing extremely rapidly and the company has become profitable (from recurring business) for the first time in its history.

Teaching objectives

The case asks students to work with the new CEO to get GO Telecom out of financial distress and hopefully relist on the Stock Exchange in Riyadh. It addresses the following problems: 1.How to release cash quickly in a business by accelerating receivables and delaying payables. 2.How to manage listing requirements of exchanges. 3.Restructuring of liabilities. 4.Negotiations, communications, and transparency with multiple stakeholders. 5.The pros and cons of rights issues to manage debt. 6.Securing the vote for a rights Issue. 7.Strategies to survive as a small player in a fast-moving market. 8.Scenario planning

  • Turnaround
  • assets
  • liabilities
  • Tadawul
  • listed company
  • financial crisis
  • Q22024