Atlas Mara, the African investment vehicle of former Barclays boss Bob Diamond, said it had increased its stake in Union Bank of Nigeria to almost 30 percent for $270 million.
The deal marks the third significant acquisition by Atlas Mara, set up last year by Diamond and Africa-based entrepreneur Ashish Thakkar, as it seeks to build the firm into Africa’s leading bank. It raised $300 million last month to add to its acquisition war chest.
Atlas Mara said on Friday it was buying the additional 20.9 percent stake from Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (Amcon). Reuters reported on Thursday Atlas Mara was in talks to buy the UBN stake.
UBN has 340 branches across Nigeria and had about $6.3 billion of assets, $3.1 billion in deposits and $1.3 billion in equity at the end of June. Atlas Mara said it purchased the stake at about book value.
UBN was established as Colonial Bank in 1917, and from 1925 until the 1970s was owned by Barclays, the British bank that Diamond led before being ousted under a cloud two years ago. UBN’s market capitalisation is about $850 million.
“This is a very significant acquisition … we will have a significant stake in a key Nigerian bank and we will also have established strategic market positions in three of Africa’s leading economic communities: the Southern Africa Development Community, the East Africa Community and Economic Community of West African States,” Diamond said in a statement.