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.
Access Bank Backs Off Kenyan Bank Acquisition Deal
Access Bank has withdrawn its proposal of buying 83.4 percent shareholding in Kenyan Bank, Sidian Bank Limited.
This was made public by Access Holdings who were trading in the transaction as Access Corporation in a filling sent to notify the Nigerian Exchange Limited.
Access Corporation had earlier in June 2022 announced that its flagship subsidiary, Access Bank had reached an agreement to acquire a large chunk of shares worth about $37million held by Centum Investment in the ownership of Sidian Bank.
The filling read “the completion of the proposed transaction was subject to fufillment or waiver of certain conditions before the Long Stop as defined in the agreement. Although regulator have all been supportive in engagements around the transaction, certain conditions precedent needed to prudently complete the transaction have not been met.”
Investors King gathered that Centum’s shares in Sidian Bank had fallen by 2.47 percent in December 2022, the most significant fall in Kenya’s stock market for the year.
Centum had said in their own statement that “the date has passed without all the conditions being fulfilled despite the support of the Central Bank of Kenya, Centum was not able to reach acceptable terms with Access Bank for extension of the share purchase agreement and therefore opted not to pursue extension.”
Access Bank, Nigeria’s biggest lender by assets had planned to double the share of assets outside its home market by 2027 and Kenya’s economy has been predicted to expand at a faster pace than Nigeria’s in coming years.
However, the Bank in its statement said it will continue to pursue its plan to buy more assets in Kenya and the East Africa.
“The bank remains, however, committed to growing its franchise in a safe and sound manner in Kenya and the broader East Africa community and will continue to explore a variety of organic and inorganic opportunities to grow.”
Access Bank had in 2019 acquired 94% of Kenyan lender Transnational Bank Limited.
Microsoft Moves to Deepen Effort in Web Search, In Talks to Acquire ChatGPT
Reports reveal that both parties have been in talks for months as the tech giant has offered a proposal of a $10 billion investment.
If the deal goes through, it will see ChatGPT’s valuation rise to $29 billion, while Microsoft will get a 75% share of the company’s profit.
Microsoft is currently seeking to edge out its rival Google as it is reportedly working to launch a version of its Bing search engine that is powered by an AI tech that is currently used in ChatGPT, as it will be unveiled at the end of March.
The ChatGPT has been a hot topic on the internet for some weeks since its launch on November 30, 2022, for its ability to create content, develop code, write essays, etc.
The Open AI chatbot’s core function is to mimic a human conversation including its ability to write and debug code as well as computer programs.
A lot of people have disclosed that the ChatGPT could pose a serious threat to tech giant Google, and probably displace it from being the dominant search engine worldwide.
Investors King understands that this is why Microsoft aims to integrate the Open AI chatbot into its bing search engine, in order to boost its user count and dominate the web search.
Reports reveal that Microsoft hopes for a more conversational search experience in which a bot provides contextual replies based on search queries.
Despite the superb ability of the ChatGPT, it has been disclosed to have a few limitations. The app has been revealed to sometimes write plausible-sounding but incorrect or nonsensical answers.
It has also been reported to have limited knowledge of events that occurred after 2021. However, OpenAI CEO, Sam Altman has expressed reservations about ChatGPT’s current capabilities.
In a tweet last month, he tweeted that it would be a mistake to be relying on the chatbot for anything important, noting that it’s currently merely a preview of progress rather than the finished product.
Otedola Moves to Sell Part of Geregu Power Plc to FEDA
Afreximbank to acquire part of Geregu Power plant
Billionaire Femi Otedola-owned energy company, Geregu Power Plc is in talks with the Fund for Export Development in Africa (FEDA) for the acquisition of part of the energy company.
The company stated in a statement signed by Akinleye Olagbende, Company Secretary and made available on the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX).
Geregu Power hereby notifies “Nigerian Exchange Limited (the Exchange) and the investing public of its discussions with the Fund for Export Development in Africa (FEDA) for the acquisition of a portion of Geregu Power Plc shares. FEDA is the impact development arm of the Africa Export and Import Bank (Afreximbank),” the company stated.
According to the energy firm, talks are presently ongoing and “where these talks progress to a more advanced stage, the company will notify the Exchange and the investing public in line with the rules of the Exchange.”
In October, Geregu Power listed 2.5 billion shares at N100 a unit on the Main Board of the NGX. This puts the company’s market value at N250 billion and also in a better position it to raise capital to bid for Geregu II as it is presently doing.
Speaking on the listing, the Chairman, Board of Directors, Mr. Femi Otedola, CON, said “the listing of the company was the actualization of a vision to bring world-class standards in governance sustainability, and business processes to the Company and the Nigerian electricity sector.”
He added that “listing on the Main Board of the Exchange will ensure that the long-term growth of the company is assured and its benefits will be passed on to our esteemed shareholders”.
Otedola is the largest shareholder in FirstBank and also holds a 99% stake in Amperion Power, the owner of the Geregu Power Plant.
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