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Merger and Acquisition

Nvidia’s Arm Acquisition Now Highly Unlikely to Go Through

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Gartner semiconductor analyst Alan Priestly has said that Nvidia’s planned $40 billion acquisition of United Kingdom Chip Designer Arm is becoming more unlikely to be successful.

Priestly attributed this possible failure to the increasing number of regulatory inquiries which the deal is facing, also making mention of concerns in the United Kingdom, the European Union, the United States of America and China. Priestly said this to CNBC on Wednesday, with both Nvidia and Arm failing to respond immediately to a request for comment by CNBC.

The deal had previously eyed a completion date of March 2022, but the CEO of Nvidia Jensen Huang had admitted in August that the deal may go beyond the anticipated date.

Arm was born out of an old computing company known as Acorn Computers back in 1990. The energy-efficient chips designed by the company are used in about 95% of smartphones around the world and 95% of chips designed in China. The company was bought by Japan-owned SoftBank in 2016 for about 24 billion pounds ($32 billion), authorizes its chip designs to over 500 companies who use these chips when making their own semiconductors.

Critics have concerns that the merger with Nvidia – who is responsible for designing its own chips – could hinder Arm’s semiconductor designs which have been dubbed neutral, and may then lead to increased prices, less available choices and reduced innovation across the industry. Nvidia however argues that the deal will result in more innovation and that Arm will benefit from an increase in investment.

American chip giant Broadcom has publicly shown support for the deal, but many others remain against it.

Qualcomm has stated that Nvidia could proceed to limit the supply of Arm’s technology to competitors, or even raise prices. Bloomberg reports that Google and Microsoft have raised similar concerns with regulators.

The United Kingdom announced back in November that it would be launching a full investigation into the takeover of Arm by Nvidia, with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigating antitrust concerns and national security issues over the period of 24 weeks.

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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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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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