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Business News

SEC: Unity Bank, Milost Global deal still under investigation

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Mary Uduk, SEC

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday said it is still investigating the alleged one billion dollars investment in Unity Bank Plc by Milost Global Incorporated.

Mrs. Ebelo, SEC’s acting Head, Corporate Communications, said the investigation into the Unity Bank/Milost case by the commission was still on, and that anyone found wanting in the case would be sanctioned appropriately in line with laid down regulations.

Milost Global had in February announced plans to conclude its acquisition of a large Nigerian bank following talks with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)

According to Bloomberg, Milost Global plans to invest $1 billion in Unity bank, $250 million was to have been invested immediately in the bank in exchange for a 30% equity stake. $750 million will then be invested over the next four years. The investment was also reported to be a mix of equity and convertible bonds.

Milost later released a statement terminating the planned $1 billion investment in the bank. The firm took the decision due to what it termed threat emails from an unnamed individual.

The Bank had insisted that there was no binding definitive agreement with Milost Global and that both parties were only engaged in a preliminary discussion.

Recall that Japaul Oil and Maritime Services Plc recently announced that it will pull out of the equity financing facility of $350 with Milost Global Inc citing some red flags associated with the planned equity injection

Tier two banks in the country have had to boost their capital adequacy ratios, Union Bank last year raised N50 billion through a rights issue and has signaled its intentions to raise a $250 million Eurobond this year.  Diamond bank another tier two bank had to sell non-essential assets. FCMB has hinted at an upcoming bond raise.

Deal book 300 x 250

Milost Global, founded by Mandla J Gwandiso in 2015 is an American Private Equity firm that is headquartered in New York City, with more than $25 billion in committed capital.

Following the consolidation of Nigerian banks in 2004, Unity bank was founded in 2006 from the merger of 9 commercial banks namely; Intercity Bank Plc, First Interstate Bank Plc, Tropical Commercial Bank Plc, Pacific Bank Limited, Centre Point Bank Plc, Societe Bancaire Limited, NNB International Bank Plc, Bank of the North Ltd and New Africa Bank Plc.

Its shares are currently trading at 1.02 on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange with a one year return of 78.95%.

Fikayo has a degree in computer science with economics from Obafemi Awolowo University. ITIL v3 in IT service management. An alumnus of Daystar Leadership Academy. Prior to joining Nairametrics had stinct in Project management, Telecommunications among others. Also training in Consulting and Investment banking from Edubridge Academy. He has very keen interest in Politics, Agri-business, private equity and global economics. He loves travelling and watching football. You can contact him via [email protected]

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Tech News

Spotify podcast listeners set to surpass Apple podcast for the first time in 2021

Spotify’s investments have empowered podcast creators and advertisers through its proprietary hosting, creation, and monetization tools.

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The number of Spotify’s podcast listeners will surpass Apple’s listeners this year. According to a report by eMarketer, 28.2 million U.S. users will listen to podcasts on Spotify at least monthly, compared with 28.0 million via Apple Podcasts. This shift will come on the heels of the expected 41.3% in 2021.

Apple was the de facto destination for podcasts for a long time, but in recent years, it has not kept up with Spotify’s pace of investment and innovation in podcast content and technology.

By putting podcasts and music in one app, Spotify became the convenient one-stop-shop for everything digital audio. Unlike Apple that has a different app for podcasts instead of offering a well-integrated experience with music and podcasts in one app.

This shift made more people stick to Spotify for the sheer experience of streaming music and also listening to a podcast on the same platform. Other music streaming services like Amazon, Pandora, etc. also have the seamless experience of enjoying podcasts and music on the same App.

According to the report, Spotify’s investments have empowered podcast creators and advertisers through its proprietary hosting, creation, and monetization tools.

Overall, there will be 117.8 million overall monthly podcast listeners in 2021, a 10.1% year-over-year (YoY) increase. This year, podcast listeners will represent 53.9% of monthly digital audio listeners, surpassing 50% for the first time.

We anticipate that more audio listeners will start listening to podcasts monthly, leading to a 60.9% share by 2024.

This year, $1.28 billion will be spent on podcast advertising, surpassing $1 billion for the first time, representing a 41.0% YoY increase. Podcast advertising is continuing to gain a share of total digital audio ad spending, representing 24.0% in 2021.

What you should know

  • Last week, Spotify announced that it will be expanding its service to 85 new markets including Nigeria.
  • This new expansion came with other upcoming features and products like the paid podcast subscriptions that will allow creators to publish paid podcast content aimed at their most dedicated fans.
  • Spotify is also partnering with WordPress to add a new integration to its platform similar to Clubhouse. This integration will make it easier for bloggers to turn their posts into podcasts, either by reading the blog posts themselves or leveraging third-party text-to-speech technology

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Coronavirus

Peter Obi urges FG to beg manufacturers, rich nations for COVID-19 vaccines

Obi urged the FG to consider appealing to rich nations, drug manufacturers for vaccines instead of spending billions of nairas to procure them.

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Katsina Abduction, Recession: Economy should be redirected from wasteful-consumption to productivity — Peter Obi

Former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi has appealed to the Federal Government to take a second look at their stipulated Covid-19 budget and rather, consider begging drug manufacturers and rich nations for the vaccines.

The former Vice Presidential candidate while speaking in an interview on Channels Television, lamented on what he felt was an over-the-top and ludicrous budget for the Covid-19 vaccines and advised that the FG should instead, appeal to manufacturers for the vaccine.

Obi, speaking on the FG Procurement Budget for the Covid-19 vaccine explained that it makes little sense for Nigeria to apportion 80% of its health budget for the procurement of Covid-19 only. He also stated that sufficient Covid-19 vaccine for the country can be purchased for a price way below the figure being put forward by the FG.

They said they need N400bn. Our Budget for health this year is N547bn and you are saying that you need 80% of that for vaccine procurement. Assuming that’s what we are going to use the money for. I have checked the vaccine we need to have 70% which WHO has stipulated that if they receive it is okay. The quantity we need cannot cost us more than N150bn. It might be less because there are people who are willing to give vaccines for free,” Obi said.

Mr. Obi took it a step further by advising the FG on how to go about the quest to get Covid-19 vaccines at a much cheaper rate. He believes the country should own up to its poor status and demand for help unashamedly. This, he said, will reduce the amount the FG will pay for the Covid-19 vaccines.

Why don’t we beg manufacturers to donate, saying to them that we don’t have anything. We can go kneel and beg them saying please give us the vaccines. We are from a poor country. Give us a discount. There is nothing wrong with saying that you are poor. It is not a crime. Because you are poor,” Obi added.

Since pharmaceutical companies and drug manufacturers began discovering and manufacturing vaccines against the novel Covid-19, there have been concerns that the poorer nations might be left far behind in the race to acquire the vaccines.

In case you missed it

  • Nigeria received its first batch of Covid 19 vaccines from India today. The first batch of Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines from India landed in the Nigerian capital Abuja on Tuesday.
  • About 3.94 million doses of the vaccines arrived at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja via an Emirates flight.

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