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Merger and Acquisition

Nigerian Retail-Tech Startup Alerzo Acquires Shago Payments To Boost Growth

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Alerzo, a Nigerian retail-tech startup has acquired fintech company Shago Payments to boost growth. The acquisition of Shago payments will enable the integration of Shago into the company’s payments arm, AlerzoPay.

The new development will provide the informal retail stores access to new digital services such as mobile airtime top-up, bill payments and peer-to-peer transfers.

Founded in 2019, the Ibadan-based retail-tech startup, Alerzo, is an all-in-one technology and services platform that transforms how Nigeria’s informal retail stores operate. Retailers can order stock, have it delivered quickly, receive and make cashless payments, and track store profitability. Alerzo currently works with more than 150,000 informal retail stores.

The startup announced a US$10.5 million Series A round, led by London-based Nosara Capital, in August, and since then has more than doubled its revenues and built a payments business. The latter was facilitated by the recent acquisition of Shago Payments, a fintech startup founded by payments industry veteran Sabastine Enechi.

Alerzo has also expanded its operations to the Middle Belt and Northern regions of Nigeria and now operates in Abuja and Kano. The company plans to serve most of Nigeria before the end of next year.

Alerzo Founded by Adewale Opaleye, said he created the company to meet a core need that his mother, a businesswoman, had at the time.

“I started Alerzo to help my mom, a single mother who ran two informal retail stores to support me and my three siblings. Before Alerzo, she had to close her shop and travel for hours to buy the inventory to stay in business.

“Women are often victims of theft because street boys know retail store operators often carry cash. I wanted to apply what I learned in China to make life better for working mothers in Nigeria.” He said.

Today, Alezo one of the fastest-growing startups in Nigeria, announced that its annualized September transaction volume had grown more than five times since the beginning of 2021, exceeding $155 million.

Commenting on the acquisition, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, the co-founder of Flutterwave and Andela and a member of Alerzo’s advisory board, said that the firm’s decision to serve communities “that are truly excluded” was inspiring: “Alerzo’s focus on excluded but commercially viable commerce communities in smaller cities like Ibadan is exemplary and visionary.”

He also said most businesses “talk a good game” about financial and economic inclusion but then proceed to focus their businesses on commercially savvy megacities like Lagos or Nairobi.

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Merger and Acquisition

Exxon Mobil’s Sale to Seplat Progresses After NNPC Drops Legal Challenge

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has withdrawn its legal challenge against Exxon Mobil Corp.’s sale of its oil and gas assets to Seplat Energy Plc.

This decision eliminates a major obstacle that had stalled the completion of the $1.3 billion deal.

The NNPC submitted an application to the high court in Abuja to discontinue the case, as confirmed by its legal firm, Afe Babalola, in an email on Thursday.

This move follows an agreement reached last month between NNPC and Exxon Mobil to finalize the transaction under undisclosed terms.

However, court documents reviewed by Bloomberg reveal that NNPC retains the right to resume its legal challenge if the settlement terms are not honored.

The sale, initially signed in February 2022, still requires approvals from the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), which has set an August deadline, and from Nigerian President Bola Tinubu.

The NNPC’s withdrawal significantly advances the deal but does not mark its final hurdle.

The addition of Exxon Mobil’s blocks will significantly enhance Seplat’s portfolio, almost quadrupling its output to over 130,000 barrels per day.

This acquisition is set to bolster Seplat’s status as one of the leading suppliers of domestic gas to Nigerian power plants, fortifying its influence in the region.

In a parallel development, Shell Plc’s divestment of its Nigerian onshore oil business to a consortium of local firms, valued at over $1.3 billion, also awaits regulatory approval after being announced in January.

Both deals highlight the ongoing restructuring and consolidation within Nigeria’s oil and gas industry, aimed at increasing efficiency and local participation.

As Nigeria navigates these substantial industry shifts, the successful completion of the Exxon Mobil-Seplat deal will be a critical indicator of the nation’s ability to manage large-scale energy transactions.

It will also set a precedent for future agreements and regulatory processes in the country’s vital oil and gas sector.

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Merger and Acquisition

Access Bank Plc Expands Footprint in Tanzania with ABCT Acquisition

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Access Bank Plc has taken a significant stride in expanding its presence in East Africa through the acquisition of a majority equity stake in African Banking Corporation of Tanzania (ABCT) Limited, a subsidiary of Atlas Mara Limited.

The acquisition, which was completed recently, underscores Access Bank’s ambition to become one of the leading financial institutions in Africa.

The transaction not only solidifies its position within the East African banking landscape but also aligns with its broader goal of enhancing intra-African trade and fostering economic development across the continent.

Commenting on the transaction, Roosevelt Ogbonna, Managing Director of the Bank, said: This strategic move represents a notable step towards setting a railroad in Tanzania for intra-African trade within the East African region, Africa and the rest of the world. It underscores our commitment to creating a robust East African banking network, driving positive change and innovation. We are excited about the opportunities this acquisition presents for our operations in Tanzania and are eager to leverage our
combined strengths to deliver exceptional financial solutions and experiences to our customers.

Commenting on the transaction, John Imani, Managing Director, African Banking Corporation (Tanzania) Limited, said: “The completion of our transaction with Access Bank Plc, not only underscores the strong confidence of Access Bank in our operations and the Tanzanian market but delivers new and exciting opportunities for our customers, employees, and stakeholders. The new entity is poised to enhance our service offerings, leveraging Access Bank’s extensive resources and expertise to deliver even greater value to our clients. We look forward to an exciting and prosperous future as part of the Access Bank family, driving economic growth and financial inclusion across Tanzania.”

Following the acquisition, Access Bank plans to merge ABCT with the consumer, private, and banking business of Standard Chartered Bank Tanzania, another entity it is acquiring.

This strategic integration aims to create Access Bank Tanzania, positioning it as a prominent player in the country’s banking sector.

The combined entity will offer a comprehensive range of banking products and services tailored to meet the evolving needs of Tanzanian businesses and individuals.

Access Bank’s expansion into Tanzania is expected to stimulate competition in the local banking industry, spur innovation, and deepen financial inclusion.

With a robust presence across multiple African markets, Access Bank continues to demonstrate its commitment to driving sustainable growth and fostering economic resilience across the continent.

As Access Bank Tanzania prepares to launch under its new structure, stakeholders are anticipating enhanced banking solutions and increased accessibility that will contribute to Tanzania’s economic prosperity in the years ahead.

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Merger and Acquisition

Tolaram Acquires 58.02% Stake in Guinness Nigeria from Diageo

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Tolaram Group has acquired a 58.02% stake in Guinness Nigeria from Diageo Plc. for ₦81.60 per share, representing approximately a 60% premium over Guinness Nigeria’s closing price of ₦50 on Monday.

Announced on June 11, 2024, the acquisition underscores Tolaram’s commitment to expanding its footprint in Nigeria’s robust consumer market.

Diageo, the UK-based beverage giant, will retain ownership of the Guinness brand, which will be licensed to Guinness Nigeria, now under Tolaram’s majority control, through long-term agreements.

Under the terms of the deal, Tolaram will initiate a mandatory takeover offer in compliance with Nigerian Exchange regulations.

However, Guinness Nigeria will continue to be publicly listed, maintaining its presence on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

A statement from Guinness Nigeria highlighted the terms of the agreement, confirming the continued production of the Guinness brand along with Diageo’s locally manufactured ready-to-drink and mainstream spirits under license and royalty agreements.

The transaction is slated for completion in 2025, pending necessary regulatory approvals.

Commenting on the acquisition, Sajen Aswani, Tolaram’s Chief Executive, said: “Our partnership with Diageo to jointly grow Guinness Nigeria underscores our commitment to build on our strong presence and heritage in Nigeria, cultivated over decades of dedication and unwavering confidence in the future of Africa. We take a long-term view on all our investments, and this partnership reflects our optimism on the exciting opportunities that lie ahead across the continent.”

Diageo CEO Debra Crew echoed Aswani’s sentiment “I’m excited to announce our new partnership with Tolaram. Guinness has been Nigeria’s favourite beer for nearly 75 years. Tolaram shares this passion for Guinness and for Nigeria, making them the perfect partners as we continue to grow our business and seek to delight even more consumers in the country.”

This strategic acquisition is expected to bolster Guinness Nigeria’s market position, leveraging Tolaram’s extensive experience in the consumer goods sector to drive growth and innovation.

The partnership aims to enhance the availability and appeal of Guinness and other Diageo products in Nigeria, contributing to the country’s economic development and consumer satisfaction.

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