The Carlyle Group, a global alternative asset manager, recently announced its investment of $40 million in Wakanow.com Limited (Wakanow), an online travel agency focused on West and East Africa, with principal operations in Nigeria. Equity came from Carlyle’s Sub-Saharan Africa fund.
Established in 2008 by Obinna Ekezie, Wakanow is a Nigerian web-based travel logistics company that has become Africa’s premier online travel booking service-company. Their purpose is to provide their customers with a one-stop online booking portal for flights, hotels, holiday packages, and other travel services.
Wakanow has grown to become one of Africa’s leading travel booking portals, with physical presence in Nigeria, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Ghana, UK, US and aggressive plans to open new offices across Africa.
In 2013, it was recognized as one of the fastest growing online companies in Nigeria by the Tony Elumelu Foundation in alliance with the All-world Networks based in the UK.
The company, in January this year went through a financial crisis following an economic recession that ravaged the aviation sector in 2015 through part of 2016.
About the Carlyle Group
The Carlyle Group is an American multinational private equity that specializes in four key business areas: corporate private equity, real assets, global credit, and investment solutions.
It was founded in 1987 as an investment banking boutique by five original partners with backgrounds in finance and government: William E. Conway, Jr. Stephen L. Norris, David M. Rubenstein, Daniel A. D’Aniello and Greg Rosenbaum.
Will Carlyle be lucky this time?
The private equity firm has had a tough time with its other holdings in the country. Carlyle in 2014 invested $147 million in tier two lender Diamond Bank Plc. The investment has however done poorly and Diamond is currently in merger talks with Access Bank.