Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright has advised leading Dutch equity investor Arise B.V. (Arise) on its acquisition of a 14.1 per cent stake in Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (Ecobank), Africa’s largest bank by geographical reach.
Arise has entered into a share purchase agreement to acquire the Ecobank stake with the International Finance Corporation (IFC, a member of the World Bank Group) and investment funds managed by IFC Asset Management Company (a wholly-owned subsidiary of IFC).
The transaction is expected to be completed in the second half of this year, subject to regulatory approvals.
Arise is a leading equity investor in financial institutions with a combined asset value in excess of USD$700 million. Its mandate is to capitalize and stimulate growth across all financial services sub-sectors within the in Sub-Saharan Africa region. Ecobank is a pan-African banking conglomerate headquartered in Nigeria, and it has banking operations in 36 African countries serving wholesale and retail customers.
The Norton Rose Fulbright team was led by partner Bayo Odubeko and included Charlotte Henry, Mark Griffiths, Louise Finnegan, Temi Adetugbo and Ayda Hajihosseinloo.
Bayo Odubeko, based in the firm’s London office, commented: “Financial institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa remains an interesting asset class and investment opportunity. Financial inclusion in Africa remains low and the potential for significant returns remain.”
Bayo Odubeko advises many of the leading Africa-focused private equity and infrastructure funds and development finance institutions investing into Africa as well as regional development finance institutions. Bayo has advised on several of the leading bank acquisition and investments in sub-Saharan Africa including advising Helios Investment Partners on the landmark USD$170m investment into Equity Bank Kenya, advising Norfund on the acquisition of a significant minority interest in DFCU and a minority interest in Equity Bank Kenya; and advising Development Partners International on the sale of CAL Bank.
Norton Rose Fulbright has advised on deals in Africa for more than 30 years, advising both on transactions and on-going commercial operations. The firm also assists clients in building their businesses both on the continent and internationally.