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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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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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