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Merger and Acquisition

Reactions as Equinix is Set to Acquire Nigeria Based MainOne in a $320 Million Deal

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Equinix, yesterday, announced its intended acquisition of MainOne, a leading West African data centre and connectivity solutions provider, with a presence in Nigeria, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. The acquisition has been pegged at $320 million.

The acquisition is expected to close Q1 of 2022 subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions including the requisite regulatory approvals.

Following the announcement, several people are already expressing their views about the intended acquisition.

Aside from the many congratulatory messages and accolades showered on the Funder of Mainone, Mrs Funke Opaka, some believe that there are suspicions in the deal.

A Twitter user Osamarine Victor Asemota said “who wants to do a Twitter space conversation about the MainOne deal tonight? We should do more analysis of these things more often. Something doesn’t quite sit right with me on it. Was it competition they were afraid of? Why not sell to Google or Facebook?”

Subsidy? If mainOne has at least 3 fibre termination in every state, lots of folks like me would walk around last-mile coverage, if their bandwidth cost would be reasonable. At supposedly less than 20% capacity utilization, deeper penetration would be the deal-breaker,” another Twitter user wrote.

“I am actually shocked to read about the deal just this morning. There was no indication that it was going to happen. And to be selling to a relatively unknown buyer again! I remember stories about the owner in the papers about some management issues, maybe that contributed to it,” Adewale wrote.

Mainone had $200MM in debt financing right? They weren’t making enough to make a dent on those debts in the last 8 years. Their valuation isn’t that low.”

“You only know the true story of a company when you have access to their financial records. Most stories on Internet about companies’ successes are half-truths,” Francis wrote.

MainOne was founded in 2010. The company has enabled connectivity for the business community of Nigeria and beyond. MainOne’s assets include:

Three operational data centres, with an additional facility under construction expected to open in Q1 2022. These facilities will add more than 64,000 gross square feet space to Platform Equinix, in addition to 570,000 square feet of land for future expansions.

An extensive submarine network extending 7,000 kilometres from Portugal to Lagos, Accra and along the west African coast, with landing stations in Nigeria, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.

A terrestrial network of more than 1,200 kilometres of reliable terrestrial fibre in Lagos, Edo and Ogun States. Connectivity to terrestrial sites extends across 65 PoPs (points of presence) in cities across Portugal, Nigeria, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.

Access to key internet exchanges enabling low latency to key global networks, including Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Google and Facebook.

An estimated 800+ business-to-business customers, including major international technology enterprises, social media companies, global telecommunications operators, financial service companies and cloud service providers.

Nearly 500 employees and a management team with a deep understanding of local and international markets.

The acquiring company, Equinix, on the other hand is comprised of 237 data centres across 65 metros and 27 countries, providing data centre and interconnection services for over 10,000 of the world’s leading businesses.

In a statement released yesterday MainOne founder, Mrs Opaka, expressed her delight with the acquisition. “Equinix will accelerate our long-term vision to grow digital infrastructure investments across Africa. I thank our founding shareholders led by Mr. Fola Adeola, MainStreet Technologies, AFC, PAIDF, FBN, Polaris and AfDB for investing in the MainOne vision to bridge the Digital Divide in Africa. With similar values and culture to what we have jointly built in twelve years, Equinix is the preferred partner for our growth journey. The MainOne team is excited about the partnership created through the acquisition, and we look forward to building our next chapter together,” she said.

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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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