Canada-based Fairfax Africa Holdings Corporation has reached an agreement to merge with Helios Holdings limited, the Africa-focused private equity firm which was co-founded by Tope Lawani and Babatunde Soyoye. The purpose of the merger is to create a truly pan-African investment firm.
A statement made available by Fairfax, as seen by Nairametrics, noted that when the deal is finalised, Fairfax Africa Holdings Corporation will be renamed Helios Fairfax Partners Corporation. The company will remain listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the Helios co-founders will be joint Chief Executives of the new company.
The terms of the deal will also require Helios to exchange 45.6% of equity and voting interest in the new company. Helios will contribute its performance and management fees through its present and future holdings under the Helios funds, thereby making Helios Fairfax Partners Corporation one of the biggest Africa-focused asset management firms by complementing the experiences and funds of both companies under one umbrella.
The new company will also have a larger capital base for diversified investment inflows to the continent through years of experience in third-party investment management operations and the support of longer-term institutional shareholders.
The main objectives of this deal are summarised below:
Helios Fairfax Partners Corporation to become the leading pan-Africa focused listed alternative asset manager with unique capabilities to invest across the continent
Creates a diversified investment platform combining best in class third-party investment management capabilities with the strength of long-term shareholders in a permanent capital vehicle
Provides an enlarged capital base, increasing capacity to invest as well as to launch additional and differentiated Africa focused asset management strategies and initiatives
Reinforces the parties’ shared long-term commitment to be a consistent and trusted provider of capital to growing African businesses across market cycles
Tope Lawani and Babatunde Soyoye, the co-founders and Managing Partners of Helios Investment Partners LLP, will become joint CEOs of the combined holding company, enabling the company to build on the track record they have established over the last 15 years
In his remarks, Tope Lawani disclosed that the deal will offer emerging market investors the opportunity to gain exposure to the continent through their portfolio.
“We take a long-term view on our investments, and many have proved resilient even in this pandemic with a number of our investments in sectors such as telecommunications, payments, and food,” Lawani said.
He added that the transaction will offer Helios access to permanent capital from equity markets that can be used to accelerate its product and growth strategy.
Helios, which was founded in 2004, has raised third party private capital for the past 15 years investing in Africa companies including First City Monument Bank (exiting in 2013), Interswitch, Vivo Energy and Helios Towers Plc.
Fairfax was founded by Canadian Billionaire Prem Watsa and will own 45.6% of the Helios Fairfax Partners Corporation. Before the merger, Helios was raising $1.25 billion for its Africa focused fund and had landed a commitment of $100 million from the U.K’s CDC Group.