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Otedola Increases Stake in First Bank, Now Holds, 7.57 Percent in FBN Holdings



Femi Otedola

The corporate industry is not immune to power tussle, as wealthy and influential people in different economic sectors go head to head with shares and stakes. Femi Otedola, the billionaire investor and the Chairman of Geregu Power Plant, has once again increased his stake in FBN Holdings (the parent company of First Bank) to 7.57 percent. This makes him the single largest majority holder in the bank, according to public disclosure of ownership.

Femi Otedola and Tunde Hassan-Odukale, the Chairman of First Bank and the Managing Director of Leadway Assurance Company Limited, have been in a sort of tussle concerning First Bank shares for quite some time.  Femi Otedola acquired 1.81 billion shares earlier in the year through his investment vehicle, Calvados Global Services Limited. However, the share acquisition was surprising as neither Otedola nor First Bank informed the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or the Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX) during the acquisition process.

The possibility of Otedola taking over did not sit right with Tunde Hassan-Odukale and his supporters, as a letter later appeared online that Odukale was the largest shareholder in First Bank Holdings, but this claim was not supported by the financial statements released from 2020 to 2021.

The letter was quickly recognised as an attempt to push back Otedola, who was all out to own a sizeable chunk of the leading financial institution.

After reports that Otedola was set to take over and the letter claiming that Odukale has more than 5%, First Bank released its own report denying any such shareholder but later acknowledged that Otedola has revealed the number of his shares.

Later on, First Bank confirmed that both Otedola and Odukale were in possession of more than 5% controlling stake.

To be precise, Femi Otedola’s stake in FBN Holdings was 5.07 percent at the time. However, news started going around that Seye Kosoko, the company secretary had attributed Leadway Pensure PFA’s entire 2.11% stake in the bank to Tunde Hassan-Odukale in a letter forwarded to the Nigerian Exchange limited (NGX).

That would have taken Tunde Hassan-Odukale’s total shares to 5.36%, which would have made him the single largest shareholder in the company as it would have totaled higher than Femi Otedola’s stake which was at 5.07% at the time.

However, the National Pension Commission (Pencom) confirmed that any funds invested in First Bank Holdings by Leadway Pensure Ltd belong to the holders of Retirement Savings Accounts (RSA). This confirmation silenced any claims that Odukale owned a stake of up to 5.36%.

First Bank also went ahead to explain that it did not list Tunde Hassan-Odukale as a 5% holder, but divided and recorded his shares as 4.16% (direct, personal shares) and 1.2% for Leadway shares.

Naturally, holding a stake of more than 5% in a company like First Bank is likely to give one a sense of power and control given the numerous investors in the leading bank.

Otedola has been an active participator in the Bank’s dealings. In October, he placed on record that he had invested the amount of $30 million in the bank’s long-term debt instrument, which was classified as Tier II capital and which makes a vital portion of the bank’s capital base.

Otedola said he made the investment due to his faith in the Nigerian economy which he termed as resilient and with a bright future. He urged people to look into the future, stating that the security challenges plaguing the country will be resolved and the country will once again receive its glory status.

The power tussle is ongoing as both sides have made moves and responded to the moves of the ‘opposition’.

A report made on December 11 revealed that about 1.1 billion units of First Bank of Nigeria Holding shares had been exchanged in only four days. This suggests that the battle for control of the bank is still ongoing, with no end in sight. The data was gathered from the daily trade volumes that were recorded by the company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange’s trading engine.

The data shows that 128.8 million units were traded on Monday, with 364 million units coming on Tuesday. Wednesday saw the trade of 441.9 million units and Thursday witnessed 228.5 million shares traded.

The power tussle however took another turn on December 9, 2021. Femi Otedola announced in a letter addressed to the bank that he had acquired additional shares in the company which now gives him an ownership of 7.57% in the bank.

According to market operators, Otedola has the right to purchase additional shares from the secondary market if they are available in order to increase his holdings in the bank. However, a Spokesperson for the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) stated that the NGX was not aware of the acquisition and was therefore unable to comment.

In the letter, it was seen that Otedola acquired these shares through his proxies Calvados Global Services, Primose Global Concept, Shetland Global, Wells Properties and Impetus Synergy. The letter read, “I have recently acquired additional shares in FBN Holdings Plc (the Company) which has brought my total stake to 7.57% of the issued shares capital of the company.”

After this acquisition, it has been revealed that Femi Otedola has now spent a huge amount of N44.8 billion on investment in FBN Holdings Ltd. Since he has announced the acquisition of 2.7 billion shares, the average price at which he has acquired the FBN Holding shares is N16.48 per share. In comparison, the share price closed at N11.6 per share yesterday.

This new purchase has formally solidified his status as the biggest shareholder of FBN Holdings, very well ahead of his biggest rival in the company, Tunde Hassan-Odukale who is the Chairman of First Bank. Tunde Hassan-Odukale and Femi Otedola have been going at each other since October, when the news of Otedola’s share acquisitions became public knowledge late in the month.

It would be interesting to see how Tunde Hassan-Odukale responds to Otedola’s new acquisition. Following the trajectory of the power tussle, it would be unsurprising to see Hassan-Odukale either announce some new shares or begin the process of acquiring additional shares. However, at the moment Femi Otedola remains the man witrh the title of biggest shareholder.

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Billionaire Watch

Billionaire Femi Otedola Bolsters Stake in FBN Holdings, Becomes Largest Shareholder



Femi Otedola

Billionaire businessman Femi Otedola has solidified his position as the largest shareholder of FBN Holdings after acquiring a substantial number of shares through both direct and indirect investments.

The transaction, which took place on June 20, 2024, saw Mr. Otedola’s personal investment vehicle, Calvados Global Services Limited, and himself collectively purchase a total of 863,180,810 ordinary shares of FBN Holdings.

This acquisition amounted to 546,674,034 shares purchased by Calvados Global Services Limited at a price of N21.97 per share, and 316,506,776 shares bought directly by Mr. Otedola at N21.91 per share.

The combined investment value of these acquisitions totals N18,950,313,232.34, a significant financial commitment by Mr. Otedola to bolster his influence within one of Nigeria’s foremost financial institutions.

In February 2024, Femi Otedola owned 1,989,342,376 indirect units, constituting 5.54% of FBN Holdings’ total shareholding, alongside 40,033,982 direct shares, amounting to 0.11%.

Combined, his holdings stood at 2,029,376,358 shares, equivalent to about 5.65% of the company’s shares.

At that time, Oba Otudeko’s Barbican Capital Limited held the largest stake in the bank.

However, following his acquisition of an additional 863,180,810 shares valued at N18,950,313,232.34 on June 20, 2024, Otedola has now emerged as FBN Holdings’ largest shareholder.

Otedola has now emerged as FBN Holdings’ largest shareholder.

The billionaire’s decision to augment his stake in FBN Holdings aligns with his broader investment strategy in Nigeria’s financial sector.

It also reflects his confidence in the long-term growth and stability of the banking industry amidst evolving economic conditions.

Industry analysts have noted that Mr. Otedola’s move not only strengthens his position within FBN Holdings but also signals a vote of confidence in the leadership and strategic direction of the bank under current market conditions.

As the largest shareholder, Mr. Otedola’s increased influence is expected to have implications for the governance and operational decisions of FBN Holdings, potentially shaping its future trajectory in Nigeria’s banking landscape.

The acquisition comes at a time when the Nigerian economy is navigating various challenges, including inflationary pressures and regulatory changes.

Mr. Otedola’s expanded stake in FBN Holdings positions him uniquely to influence and contribute to the resilience and growth of the institution amid these dynamics.

With this latest development, all eyes are on how Mr. Otedola’s enhanced role will impact FBN Holdings’ strategic initiatives, shareholder relations, and overall performance in the coming quarters.

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Elon Musk Reclaims World’s Richest Title with $6 Billion AI Startup Boost



Elon Musk X

Elon Musk has once again ascended to the top of the global wealth rankings, surpassing Bernard Arnault, after his new artificial intelligence startup, xAI, secured $6 billion in funding.

This latest financial windfall has catapulted Musk’s net worth to an astonishing $209.2 billion, outstripping Arnault’s $199.3 billion and placing Jeff Bezos in second place with an estimated $199.9 billion as of May 30, 2024.

The announcement, made during the Memorial Day weekend, highlighted the significant investment in xAI, which now boasts a pre-money valuation of $18 billion.

Musk’s 60% stake in the startup is estimated to be worth $14.4 billion, further solidifying his financial dominance.

This valuation surge is particularly noteworthy considering the involvement of investors from Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of Twitter, now rebranded.

Musk’s wealth is predominantly derived from his substantial holdings in Tesla and SpaceX. His nearly 12% stake in Tesla and 42% stake in SpaceX are each valued at approximately $75 billion.

Despite Tesla’s fluctuating stock prices and the rising valuation of SpaceX, Musk’s financial prowess remains robust.

Also, Forbes estimates that the value of Musk’s 74% stake in his social media company has decreased to around $7 billion, nearly 70% less than its purchase price in 2022.

In a significant legal development, a Delaware judge invalidated nearly $50 billion in performance-based Tesla stock options granted to Musk in 2018, citing unfair award processes.

Tesla shareholders are set to vote on reapproving these options on June 13, which could further impact Musk’s financial status.

Meanwhile, SpaceX is reportedly aiming for a valuation of $200 billion, up from $180 billion last December, indicating a continued upward trajectory for Musk’s ventures.

The Forbes Real Time Billionaire Index, as of May 30, reflects the shifting fortunes of the world’s wealthiest individuals.

Musk now leads with $209.2 billion, followed by Bezos at $199.9 billion, and Arnault at $199.3 billion.

Other notable figures in the top ten include Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Ellison, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Steve Ballmer.

Musk’s remarkable financial rebound underscores the volatile nature of the global wealth rankings and the significant impact of strategic investments in emerging technologies.

As xAI continues to develop, it will be intriguing to observe how Musk leverages this new venture to maintain his position as the world’s richest person.

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Vietnam Court Sentences Real Estate Tycoon to Death Over $12.46 Billion Fraud Case



Truong My Lan

A court in Vietnam has sentenced real estate tycoon Truong My Lan to death for her involvement in a $12.46 billion financial fraud case.

The verdict delivered on Thursday comes after a trial that began on March 5 and ended earlier than anticipated, drawing attention both domestically and internationally.

Truong My Lan, the chairwoman of real estate developer Van Thinh Phat Holdings Group, was found guilty of embezzlement, bribery, and violations of banking regulations in the bustling business hub of Ho Chi Minh City.

Despite pleading not guilty to the charges of embezzlement and bribery, the court handed down a death sentence for the embezzlement charge and 20 years each for the other two offenses.

The trial and subsequent verdict are part of a broader crackdown on corruption spearheaded by Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party, led by Nguyen Phu Trong, who has long vowed to eradicate corruption from the country’s political and economic landscape.

The case revolves around allegations of massive embezzlement and financial mismanagement within Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SCB), which Truong My Lan effectively controlled through a network of proxies.

Prosecutors accused her of siphoning off over 304 trillion dong from the bank through illicit loans to shell companies and other unlawful practices.

Truong My Lan’s rise from a cosmetics trader to a prominent figure in Vietnam’s financial world adds a layer of intrigue to the case. Starting her career in the central market of Ho Chi Minh City, she founded Van Thinh Phat in 1992 and quickly ascended to prominence in the real estate sector.

However, her fall from grace has been swift and dramatic, culminating in the unprecedented death sentence.

The trial also implicated several others, including Lan’s husband, Eric Chu, and her niece, who received lengthy prison terms for their roles in the fraud scheme.

The court’s decision reflects the severity with which Vietnam is addressing corruption within its borders, with the government keen to demonstrate its commitment to accountability and transparency.

Despite the verdict, some remain skeptical about the effectiveness of Vietnam’s anti-corruption efforts, pointing to widespread bribery and graft across various sectors.

However, the sentencing of Truong My Lan sends a strong message that no one, regardless of their status or influence, is above the law in Vietnam’s pursuit of justice and integrity.

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