Last week in brief… The pace of private equity deal making in Africa picked up noticeably last week compared to prior weeks this year. South African fund manager, Ethos Private Equity scored both an acquisition and an exit to garner a lot of coverage, but we also saw deals involving Broadreach Private Equity, LeapFrog Investments, PCM Capital Partners, Kinnevik AB and Schulze Global. And let's not forget Verod Capital Management's news, holding the final close for its second fund at $115 million, handily beating its original target for the fund by 15%.
For its acquisition last week, Ethos announced that it has acquired a 65% stake in Eazi Group, a South African equipment sales and rental business in a $97 million transaction. The stake was acquired from the firm’s founding management and Buffet Investments, an investment vehicle controlled by billionaire Jonathan Beare, both of whom are re-investing into the new structure alongside Ethos and hold the balance of the ownership.
In its second deal of the week, Ethos announced the completion of the sale of its stake in CQS Technology Holdings to JSE-listed Adapt IT who agreed to pay sellers R217 million (or $13 million at today’s exchange rates) in a cash and share deal when the deal was first announced in October last year. The disposal gives Ethos a full exit from its investment, which it originally made in 2008.
Meanwhile, mobile entertainment group iROKO TV announced it has secured capital and content from existing investor Kinnevik AB and French media giant CANAL+ in a $19 million deal. The capital will be used to finance the development of local content as well as build its product and engineering teams in Lagos and New York and help the company achieve its goal of producing at least 300 hours of original content in 2016 and double that by 2018.
PCM Capital Partners is making an undisclosed investment in First Atlantic Bank Ghana. The investment, which is being structured as a combined private placement and rights issue gives AA Global Investments, the SPV through which the investment is being made, a 15% share in the Ghanaian bank as well as a board seat.
In another financial services deal, LeapFrog Investments is making its third direct investment in Ghana by acquiring a majority stake in UT Life Insurance for an undisclosed sum. With insurance penetration rates of less than 2% in the country, the market offers the company significant expansion opportunities.
And Schulze Global announced the completion of its acquisition of a 45% stake in Ethiopia’s MB PLC, a dairy processor in Ethiopia which operates under the Family Milk brand. The firm, which was founded in 2001, produces and distributes milk and milk products to a number of customers in Addis Ababa.
In fundraising news, Verod Capital has held the final close for its second private equity fund at $115 million, exceeding its original target of $100 million. The fund has already started to make investments, committing more that $28 million in five transactions to date and will continue to target opportunities in a number of rapidly growing sectors including light manufacturing, consumer goods and services, business services, agriculture, education and financial services.
Speculation is mounting that Helios-backed Interswitch will soon lay claim to being Africa's first public startup unicorn when it lists on the London Stock Exchange in 2016. Sources tell Tech Crunch that the digital payments company plans to go public sometime after Q2 with a $1 billion valuation, roughly two times revenues.
And finally, Cargill’s spin off of subsidiary Black River Asset Management’s private equity business has now been completed. The new private equity fund manager, Proterra Investment Partners announced its launch last week as a stand-alone, natural resources-focused investment advisor and private equity fund manager owned by the former employees of the Black River private equity business. Cargill remains as an investor in the funds.
Allan Cunningham is a senior media executive who has spent the last 15 years of his career working for some of the world’s most respected M&A and Private Equity media companies including Dow Jones’s publications Private Equity Analyst and VentureWire and most recently, The Deal. He has built a number of successful digital and event content businesses, both subscription and sponsor-supported, delivering information and content-marketing services to clients in the M&A and broader deal ecosystem. He recently struck out on his own and launched Rowayton Press, a multi-platform media company focused on the private capital opportunities in emerging and frontier markets. Mr. Cunningham holds a Bachelors degree from Liverpool John Moores University in the UK.