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Merger and Acquisition

Autochek Acquires Cheki Kenya and Uganda to Provide Seamless Access To Auto Financing Across East Africa

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Barely a year after Autochek successfully acquired Cheki Nigeria and Ghana as part of its launch in West Africa, the automotive technology company has now entered into an agreement with ROAM Africa (Ringier One Africa Media) to acquire Cheki Kenya and Cheki Uganda, amid plans to expand further into the African market. The deal will be finalised within the following weeks and will see Cheki Kenya and Uganda’s operations integrate with the wider Autochek operations.

Founded in 2010, Cheki Kenya has built a network of hundreds of dealers, more than 12,000 vehicles listed monthly and 700,000 monthly unique users on its platform with 80% plus year-on-year growth in the last two years. With credit penetration in Kenya at 27.5%, significantly higher than the West African market, which stands at 5%, East Africa’s growing market is positioned as a key auto financing hub, and Autochek is now strategically positioned to scale as it becomes a pan-African player.

According to the Founder and CEO Etop Ikpe, the expansion into the East African region is the next step needed to continue Autocheck’s mission to provide seamless access to auto financing across the continent. Building on Cheki’s 10 years of experience, Autochek is set to introduce additional technology solutions that will integrate the auto ecosystem as well as increase market adoption for auto loan financing. As part of the agreement, ROAM Africa will also transfer ownership and operational control to Autochek.

Speaking on the acquisition, Etop Ikpe said, “The acquisition of Cheki Kenya and Uganda is an important milestone for us, and we are excited to be working with ROAM Africa once again, building on their achievements over the past years. ROAM Africa has an unrivalled track record of operating and scaling some of Sub-Saharan Africa’s most innovative classified marketplaces, and we look forward to leveraging on this solid business foundation.”

“Autochek’s mandate is to accelerate the ability of African consumers to access better quality and affordable vehicles by providing access to financing, while also derisking the auto lending process for financial institutions. We are long-time admirers and collaborators of the Cheki brand; following today’s news, we intend to provide even more trust and transparency in East Africa’s automotive sector, leveraging the unique networks we are now joining together.”

Clemens Weitz, CEO of ROAM Africa, says, “Across the world, we see a new evolution of digital automotive platforms, requiring deep specialisation. Specifically in Africa, we believe that Autochek is the one player with the best team and expertise to truly create a game-changing consumer experience. Our Cheki team has built a unique, market-leading brand and a truly remarkable business. Most importantly, I want to thank everyone in the team who contributed to this success. Now we are excited to see that taken to the next level. Whilst this is good news for everyone directly involved, the ultimate benefactor will be African car buyers and sellers.”

“For ROAM Africa, this deal is more than a perfect transaction: It unleashes even more focus on the strategic playbook for our core businesses. We have a clear strategy that will further strengthen our leading marketplaces and invest in innovative product solutions. The opportunity is now bigger than ever since the pandemic has vastly accelerated digitisation across the continent. In the last two years, our businesses recorded unprecedented growth. Thus, our commitment to connect Africans to opportunities remains strong.”

Launched in 2020 and backed by notable investors such as TLcom Capital and 4DX Ventures, Autochek combines technology underpinned by data analytics to deepen auto finance penetration across the continent. With a presence in Nigeria and Ghana, the company’s 360-degree automotive solution also provides a strong network of after-sales services that preserve and eases vehicle ownership experience across Africa.

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Merger and Acquisition

Bankman-Fried’s FTX Says no Talks to Acquire Robinhood

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Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX crypto exchange said it is not in talks to acquire Robinhood Markets Inc, after a report on Monday claimed the exchange was exploring such a deal.

Bloomberg News reported on Monday FTX was discussing internally how to buy the app-based brokerage and that Robinhood had not received a formal takeover approach, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

“There are no active M&A conversations with Robinhood,” Bankman-Fried said in an emailed statement.”We are excited about Robinhood’s business prospects and potential ways we could partner with them.”

Robinhood declined to comment. The retail-trading platform’s shares were down 5% in extended trading after jumping over 14% on the report.

Last month, the founder and chief executive of FTX revealed a 7.6% stake in Robinhood but said he did not have any intention of taking control of the retail-trading platform.

Robinhood’s dual-class shares give its founders control of 64% of the voting shares outstanding, making it virtually impossible for takeovers without their support.

The popular trading platform has come under pressure this year as trading volumes ease from 2021’s frenetic pace – when retail investors used it to pump money into shares of so-called meme stocks such as GameStop and AMC Entertainment.

That slowdown, along with a sell-off in high-growth technology stocks, has driven a near 50% slump in Robinhood shares this year. The company had a market valuation of nearly $7 billion as of Friday’s closing price.

FTX’s U.S. arm announced in May it would launch a stock trading platform by the end of the summer. Last week, it acquired partner Embedded Financial Technologies for an undisclosed amount, which would add custody, execution and clearing services to its equity trading platform.

FTX and its billionaire founder Bankman-Fried have rescued other players during the crypto market’s recent crash. It provided crypto lender BlockFi with a $250 million revolving credit facility to help the firm avoid a liquidity crunch.

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Merger and Acquisition

Access Bank Moves to Acquire 83% Stake in Kenya’s Sidian Bank Limited

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Access Bank Plc, a subsidiary of Access Bank Holdings Plc, has entered into a binding agreement with Centum Investment Plc for the acquisition of 83.4% equity held by Centum in Sidian Bank Limited in Kenya.

Access Bank announced the acquisition in a statement signed by Sunday Ekwochi, Company Secretary, Access Bank and obtained by Investors King.

The acquisition is estimated at US$37 million or N15 billion. This represents a price to book multiple of 1.1x based on the audited 31 Match 2022 shareholder’s equity of Sidian.

According to Access Bank, upon completion of the acquisition, Sidian will be merged with Access Bank’s subsidiary in Kenya, Access Bank Kenya to create a stronger banking institution better positioned to serve the Kenyan market.

Commenting on the deal, the Group Chief Executive, Access Bank, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, said “This growth transaction being implemented in Kenya represents the relentless focus and execution of our strategic objectives within our banking subsidiary even as we grow the other businesses within Access Corporation’s core segments. The acquisition of Sidian is a significant step-up in scale and potential for Access Bank in Kenya which represents the largest market and trade corridor in East Africa.

“The significant increase in scale and customer base presents us with enormous opportunities to support growth in the various ecosystems we are building in our trade and payment business.

“The economies of scale that derive therefrom will continue to drive and enhance contributions to all stakeholders.”

Also commenting on the transactions was Mr. Roosevelt Ogbonna, the Chief Executive Officer of Access bank. Ogbona explained that the acquisition will strengthen the bank’s presence in Kenya and support geographic earnings growth and diversification.

He said “this transaction builds on our earlier acquisition of the former Transnational Bank Plc (now Access Bank Kenya) and underscores our resolve to strengthen our presence in Kenya, a ley African market that fits into our strategic focus for geographic earnings growth and diversification.

“The acquisition and intended subsequent merger will create a strong and competitive balance sheet for Access Bank in Kenya, positioning us to be well-placed to promote regional trade finance and other cross border banking services in the East African Community (“EAC”) and broader COMESA region.

“The proposed combination with Access Bank Kenya would undoubtedly propel Access Bank into a strong contender in the Kenyan market with enhanced capacity to play a more impactful role in the growth of its economy while delivering increased profitability for our shareholders.”

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Merger and Acquisition

Access Holdings Plc to Acquire Majority Stake in First Guarantee Pension Limited

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Access Holdings Plc has agreed with First Guarantee Pension Limited to acquire a majority stake in the company in its drive to transform from a narrow banking business into a financial service company.

The leading financial institution stated in a press release obtained by Investors King on Thursday.

According to Access Bank, the transaction is in line with its strategy to evolve into a full-blown financial services company and gain relevant market share across Africa, global monetary centres and beyond banking verticals.

Speaking on the firm’s push to change the banking landscape, Dr. Herbert Wigwe, Group Chief Executive Officer, Access Corporation said “This transaction is a natural evolution for us. Over the last 20 years, we set our sights on and delivered ambitious plans to transform the African financial services landscape focusing on banking and have created the African leading Bank and largest bank by customer base.

“This large customer base both on the wholesale and retail segments makes the pension business a natural fit for the Corporation given its objective of ecosystem optimisation. We will leverage our well-established culture of strong corporate governance, risk management, cutting-edge technology, and digital capabilities to deliver high standards of professionalism in the management of pension assets to the benefit of our stakeholders.”

The firm added that the National Pension Commission and the Central Bank of Nigeria have given their no objection to the transaction.

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