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Merger and Acquisition

Helios Investment Partners and Sojitz Corporation Start Collaborations in West African Gas Downstream Businesses



Helios Investment Partners

Helios Investment Partners (“Helios”), the Africa-focused private investment firm, acting on behalf of funds it advises, and Sojitz Corporation (“Sojitz”), one of the leading conglomerate investment and trading houses listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, announced the completion of the sale by Helios of a 25% interest in the holding company of Axxela, the largest private-sector gas distributor in Nigeria, to Sojitz. Helios retains a 75% interest in the company.

This transaction marks Sojitz’s first significant equity investment in Africa, indicating its growth ambitions on the continent and serving as a blueprint for future collaboration in Africa between Helios and Sojitz across a range of sectors. As like-minded shareholders, Helios and Sojitz expect to accelerate further growth of Axxela’s business by leveraging Sojitz’s expertise in developing gas and power infrastructure projects and providing lower-carbon energy solutions to industrial customers globally.

Axxela is a pioneering energy infrastructure company at the forefront of delivering cleaner, cheaper and more reliable energy to industrial customers across West Africa. Its operations support the utilisation of Nigeria’s vast domestic gas resource to drive industrial growth while also facilitating fuel switching by industries to gas, reducing CO2, Nitric Oxide and Sulfur Oxide emissions, which enables the transition to a lower carbon economy. Axxela enabled its customers to reduce their CO2 emissions by 1.7 million tonnes between 2018 and 2020 by switching their energy supply from diesel or Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) to gas and will expand such contribution to reduce CO2 emissions through the growth of its business.

Axxela Group began operations in 2001 and currently serves over 200 industrial customers across key industrial hubs in Lagos, Port Harcourt, and Sagamu providing a comprehensive energy offering across pipeline gas, compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG). It also supplies gas to power utilities and industries across the West Africa region, taking advantage of its status as a designated shipper on the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP), a regional gas pipeline spanning across Benin, Togo and Ghana.

Sojitz is a leading conglomerate whose experience spans several industries including energy (gas, LNG, renewables, power, new clean energies including hydrogen), automotive, aerospace, agriculture, chemicals, consumer goods, healthcare, infrastructure and resources. As a global energy player, Sojitz possesses deep expertise in the gas and power infrastructure sector, where it has been involved in the development of gas distribution networks, LNG terminals and power plants globally.

Under Sojitz’s “Medium-Term Management Plan 2023”, the company aims to adopt a market-oriented initiative in growth industries and in accordance with the plan, has developed a downstream gas business in Vietnam. This know-how will enhance the Axxela Group’s operation and growth and ultimately aim to provide multiple energy solutions meeting individual customer’s requirements while contributing to CO2 reduction.

West Africa’s abundant gas resources have for decades served the energy requirements of Europe and Asia via LNG exports, with modest growth in regional consumption due to the dearth of processing and distribution infrastructure to connect with market demand. Helios and Sojitz together believe that the actionable, economically viable and just energy transition pathway for Africa can be achieved through the accelerated build-out of gas infrastructure, which would enable the switch away from coal and liquid fuels, eliminate routine gas flaring and support the increased penetration of renewable energy by complementing its intermittent supply with reliable and flexible gas-fired power supply.

Ogbemi Ofuya, Partner at Helios Investment Partners, commented: “We feel privileged to enter into this partnership with Sojitz to drive further growth of Axxela’s business. This transaction demonstrates the value of our strategy to build market-leading, strategically important businesses which become highly sought-after by global investors seeking to enter Africa or grow their presence on the continent. Sojitz is a world-class energy infrastructure investor and their investment represents the first Japanese strategic investment in a downstream gas distribution business in Africa. We look forward to working together to accelerate energy access for industrial growth and decarbonisation across Africa.”

Masakazu Hashimoto, COO of Infrastructure & Healthcare Division at Sojitz Corporation, commented: “We are pleased to announce this strategic investment into the Axxela Group, which opens the door for our entry to a gas downstream market in Africa where huge growth potential is expected. Africa is the largest frontier in the 21st century. This transaction embodies our “market-oriented initiative” and “co-creation and sharing methodologies” and begins a partnership between the internationally reputable fund Helios and Sojitz. We expect that this collaboration will create additional value to Axxela and their stakeholders by way of a disciplined investment while ESG issues are fully addressed.”

Mr. Bolaji Osunsanya, CEO of Axxela Limited, commented: “We are delighted to welcome Sojitz to the Axxela family. This represents another first for us as an organisation, and a huge testament of continued investor confidence in our business. It also further affirms our position not only as a market leader, but as a reputable partner enabling industrialisation across Africa. With Sojitz onboard, our capacity is stronger, and we are better situated to attract the requisite capital to continue executing our development-oriented projects.’’

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq,, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Merger and Acquisition

Capital One Financial Corp. to Acquire Discover Financial Services in $35 Billion Mega Deal



discovery gold credit card

Capital One Financial Corp. has announced its intention to acquire Discover Financial Services in a $35 billion deal.

This strategic acquisition positions Capital One as the largest credit card company in the United States by loan volume, intensifying competition with Wall Street’s prominent players.

Under the terms of the agreement, Capital One will purchase Discover at a premium, offering 1.0192 of its own shares for each Discover share—a 26.6% premium based on the closing price on February 16th.

Pending regulatory and shareholder approvals from both entities, the deal is anticipated to conclude in late 2024 or early 2025.

The merger between Capital One and Discover represents the most significant global consolidation this year, surpassing notable acquisitions in various sectors.

By combining forces, Capital One and Discover unite two esteemed consumer-finance brands, effectively eclipsing competitors such as JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. in US credit-card loan volume.

This acquisition not only amplifies Capital One’s market share but also grants the company a formidable position within the payment networks sphere.

Capital One’s CEO, Richard Fairbank, described the merger as a “singular opportunity” to establish a robust presence alongside the largest payment networks, underscoring the transformative potential of the deal.

Upon completion, Capital One shareholders will possess approximately 60% ownership of the consolidated entity, with Discover shareholders owning the remaining stake.

The acquisition is expected to yield significant synergies, generating $2.7 billion in pretax benefits.

The strategic rationale behind the acquisition underscores the increasing importance of scale and technological capabilities in the financial sector.

By leveraging Discover’s extensive network and Capital One’s expertise, the combined entity aims to drive innovation and enhance value for customers in an ever-evolving market landscape.

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Merger and Acquisition

Barclays Plc to Acquire Tesco Plc’s Banking Business in £600 Million Deal



Barclays Bank

Barclays Plc has announced its acquisition of Tesco Plc’s banking business in a £600 million deal.

The transaction marks Barclays’ endeavor to strengthen its presence in consumer finance and retail banking services across the United Kingdom.

According to the terms of the deal, Barclays will pay approximately £600 million upon the completion of the acquisition.

This includes the acquisition of £4.2 billion worth of credit-card receivables, £4.1 billion in unsecured personal loans, and £6.7 billion in customer deposits from Tesco Bank.

Tesco Plc, in a separate statement, revealed that it anticipates receiving around £1 billion in cash from the sale, considering the release of regulatory capital and an earlier dividend payment by Tesco Bank.

The majority of these funds are slated for a share buyback program, demonstrating Tesco’s strategic financial planning post-sale.

The acquisition, subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to conclude in the latter half of 2024. As part of the agreement, Barclays and Tesco will enter into a 10-year partnership allowing Barclays to utilize the Tesco brand for marketing and distributing credit cards, unsecured personal loans, and deposits.

Barclays’ CEO, C.S. Venkatakrishnan, expressed enthusiasm about the strategic collaboration with the UK’s largest retailer, emphasizing its potential to create new avenues for distributing unsecured lending and deposit products.

While the deal is projected to slightly impact Barclays’ common equity tier 1 ratio, the bank does not anticipate significant alterations in financial returns or shareholder distributions due to the acquisition.

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Merger and Acquisition

Exxon Mobil Corp. to Withdraw from Equatorial Guinea, Ending Decades-Long Oil Presence




Exxon Mobil Corp., a key player in Equatorial Guinea’s oil sector for almost three decades, has announced its plans to withdraw from the country in the coming months, bringing to an end a significant era in the nation’s oil history.

The decision comes as Exxon Mobil intends to transfer its investments in Equatorial Guinea to the government during the second quarter of the year.

The company explained its commitment to ensuring a safe transition of operations and supporting those affected by the change.

Equatorial Guinea experienced a surge in oil production at the turn of the century, becoming one of the world’s prominent oil provinces following significant discoveries by Mobil Corp. in the mid-1990s. Exxon’s acquisition of Mobil in 1999 further boosted production.

However, over the years, the country’s oil output plummeted by more than 80% due to diminishing reserves and declining foreign investment.

Exxon Mobil’s decision aligns with its long-term strategic objectives, focusing on capitalizing on the most promising opportunities worldwide.

CEO Darren Woods has prioritized investments in regions like Guyana and the US Permian Basin, where growth potential and cost efficiency are more favorable.

The departure underscores the complex dynamics of oil investment, where companies assess risks related to regulatory environments and political stability.

Dr. Ken Medlock of Rice University’s Center for Energy Studies highlighted that escalating risks could prompt companies to seek better opportunities elsewhere.

The exit of Exxon Mobil represents a significant shift for Equatorial Guinea, which has long relied on oil revenue to drive economic growth.

While the country’s oil wealth once bolstered its GDP per capita, challenges remain in addressing social indicators and human rights issues, signaling a transformative period ahead as Equatorial Guinea navigates its post-oil future.

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