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Honeywell Flour Mills Refutes Ecobank Winding Up Proceeding Claims, Assures Investors of Total Transparency

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Honeywell Flour Mill Factory - Investors King

Following media reports that Honeywell Flour Mills Plc (HFMP) is a subject of an ongoing winding up proceedings instituted by Ecobank Nigeria Limited in a suit no: FHC/L/CP/1571/2015, Honeywell Flour Mill Plc has now refuted the publication, insisting there is no winding-up petition against the embattled company.

The company disclosed in a statement signed by Yewande Giwa, Company Secretary and obtained by Investors King.

It said “It is pertinent to set the record straight that there is no Winding-up Petition currently pending or live against HFMP in any Court in Nigeria. There is also no pending Court Order restraining trading in the shares of HFMP or inhibiting HFMP or its owners from dealing in its assets. HFMP assures its investors, regulators and stakeholders that in all of its engagements with FMN, it received independent legal advice and asserts that the transaction is not in breach of any subsisting Order of Court. The issue as to whether HFMP is indebted to Ecobank is still before the Courts and the final decision remains the exclusive preserve of the Courts. It is also important to state that the Court of Appeal judgement being referred to in the reports did not declare HFMP to be indebted to Ecobank.”

This was in response to a publication titled “Ecobank Warns against Acquisition of Honeywell Flour Mills, Alleges Company Facing Winding Up Proceedings” that claimed Ecobank Nigeria Limited had issued a 7-day ultimatum to Flour Mills to desist from completing the acquisition of 71.69 percent stake in Honeywell Flour Mills Plc on the ground that the company was hugely indebted to Ecobank.

However, Honeywell claimed “The assertions lack merit, were written in bad faith and are a deliberate attempt to undermine a transaction that will result in substantial benefit to the Nigerian economy and entrench the collaboration of two publicly quoted companies. As a responsible corporate citizen, we have entered the transaction with FMN having taken all legal issues into consideration.

“All stakeholders are hereby assured that management of Honeywell Flour Mills Plc will continue to act in the best interests of all concerned and work diligently to preserve value for all its shareholders.

“We expect that from the proposed combination, stakeholders will benefit from the more than 85-year combined track record of FMN and HFMP and their shared goal of making affordable and nutritious food available to Nigeria’s population. The country and its food security agenda will benefit from both companies’ focus on developing Nigeria’s industrial capability, its agricultural value chain and specifically backward integration of the food industry.”

This whole drama started immediately Honeywell Flour Mills and Flour Mills of Nigeria, in a joint statement, announced FMN has agreed to acquire a 71.69 percent stake valued at N80 billion in Honeywell Flour Mills Plc. A deal that will automatically make Honeywell Flour Mills Plc Flour Mills of Nigeria’s asset.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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MTN Nigeria Begins Sale of 575 Million Shares to Retail Investors

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MTN Nigeria - Investors King

Telecommunication giant, MTN, will today begins the sale of up to 575 million shares held in MTN Nigeria by MTN Group to Nigerian retail and institutional investors.

The announcement of the sale is coming a week after the company disclosed that the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) had approved its offer for sale of up to 575 million ordinary shares by way of a bookbuild to qualified investors (Institutional Offer) and a fixed price to retail investors (Retail Offer).

The company’s Chief Executive Officer, Karl Toriola, talking about the sale of the shares yesterday in a press conference clarified that the sale of the shares was never an initiative of funds raising but an attempt to deepen the company’s shareholding and in order to enable more Nigerians to partake in the prosperity of the company.

The offer opens at 8:00am today and is scheduled to close at 5:00 pm on December14, 2021. It is priced at N169.00 per share and the minimum subscription is for 20 shares and lots of 20 shares thereafter. The offer includes an incentive in the form of one free share for every 20 shares purchased, subject to a maximum of 250 free shares per investor. The incentive is open to retail investors who buy and hold the shares allotted to them for at least 12 months, post the allotment date,” the CEO said.

The retail offer is the first in Nigeria to be delivered via a digital platform. It aims to facilitate the maximum possible participation by Nigerian investors leveraging on technology. Similarly, It is the first time the company will invite subscription from the public nearly two years after it listed on the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX).

Speaking about the offer, MTN Group President and Chief Executive Officer, Ralph Mupita, said the offer was MTN’s strategic priority to create shared value. “In the last 20 years, we have worked diligently to connect 68 million subscribers onto voice and data networks and ensure that we deliver the benefits of a modern connected life. With this offer, we will contribute to the further deepening of Nigeria’s equity capital markets. It is the first in a series of transactions as MTN Group implements its plans to ensure broad-based ownership by reducing its shareholding in MTN Nigeria to 65 per cent over time. We thank the Nigerian authorities for the support we as MTN Group have received in the various approvals related to this Offer, and remain committed to playing our humble role in driving digital and financial inclusion across the country over the medium-term, ” he added.

Investors will be able to submit applications through the issuing houses, receiving agents (authorised stockbrokers and Nigerian banks) and online via a unique digital application platform, Primary Offer, administered by the Nigerian Exchange Limited.

 

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Merger and Acquisition

United Kingdom Ordered Meta, Formerly Facebook, to Sell Giphy

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The United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has instructed Meta – formerly known as Facebook – to sell Giphy, the American search engine that allows users search for and share short looping videos which are without sound, that are similar to animated GIF files.

The CMA stated that the merger deal could possibly be harmful to social media users and advertisers in the UK. It also found that the deal would further boost Meta’s already strong market power, as it would limit other platforms’ ability to use Giphy GIFs, which will, in turn, drive more traffic to sites owned by Facebook (WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook).

According to the CMA, Meta’s sites dominated social media usage time up to around 73 percent, and could eventually outperform social media rivals like TikTok, Twitter and Snapchat by leveraging Giphy. The Authority then added that before the merger, Giphy had launched ”innovative advertising services” which brands like Dunkin’ Donuts and Pepsi which it could possibly have brought to the United Kingdom.

The CMA also stated that at the time the merger was made, Giphy’s advertising services were terminated by Facebook. That move removed a vital part of potential opposition in the market. The CMA was concerned by this move, calling it particularly concerning considering that Facebook is in control of about half of the £7 billion display advertising market in the UK.

Facebook had acquired Giphy for a reported fee of $400 million, with an aim of integrating the service into Instagram. After a month, the CMA started an investigation into the merger and decided in August that Facebook could hinder social media rivals such as TikTok and Snapchat from tapping into Giphy’s GIFs.

Meta had initially stated that the CMA did not have jurisdiction because Giphy was not operational in the United Kingdom, adding later that Giphy’s paid services were not display advertising by the definition of the CMA.

In October, Meta was fined $70 million by the CMA for breaking some rules related to the deal by failing to report necessary information and changing its chief compliance officer on two different occasions without receiving permission.

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Panasonic Confirms Data Breach after Hacker Attack

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Panasonic Nigeria

Japanese tech giant Panasonic has affirmed that the company has been a victim of a data breach after some hackers were able to access the company’s internal network.

In a press release dated November 26, the company stated that its private network was illicitly accessed by a “third party” on November 11, and also stated that some data which was on a company file server had been retrieved during the breach.

However, a spokesperson for Panasonic, Dannea DeLisser stated that the data breach started on June 22, and ended on November 3. She also said that the very first unauthorized access was detected on November 11.

The company which is based in Osaka, Japan provided additional details about the breach. In the press release, the company said that although it is conducting its own investigation into the breach, it is also working with a third-party organization to investigate the data leak. The third party organization is also looking into whether or not the breach included personal information of customers or sensitive information which concerns social infrastructure.

Immediately the unauthorized access was discovered by the company, the incident was reported to the appropriate authorities who went ahead to set up some security countermeasures, which also contained steps to avert external access to the network. The company closed the statement by apologizing for concerns and inconveniences caused by the data breach.

This type of incident is not completely new to Panasonic, as just under a year ago Panasonic India faced a ransomware attack in which hackers leaked about 4 gigabytes of data, including email addresses and financial details.

The data breach also comes at a period when Japanese technology companies are facing waves of cyberattacks. NEC and Mitsubishi Electric were victims of hackers in 2020, and Olympus was also made to suspend operations in Europe, Africa and the Middle East after being a victim of a ransomware attack.

The trend of cyberattacks in Japan is likely to reduce public faith in the company, especially since it has been hacked twice since last year.

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