Last week in brief...In another promising African private equity fundraising story, Amethis held an interim close for its third fund last week, exceeding its overall goal. At €305 million, it's already sure to be one of the larger fund closes this year, even more so if it hits its hard cap in time for the final close scheduled for May. Discussions and due diligence are ongoing with several potential investors, making a €400 million close all the more likely. It'll be interesting to see what it finally comes in at.

Staying with fundraising, news came in that Afreximbank is launching and providing the initial capital for a new fund to make seed investments in the continent’s exporting businesses. The Fund for Export Development in Africa or FEDA is a wholly-owned and development-oriented subsidiary of Afreximbank, which is committing $100 million of initial capital to the fund. The fund hopes to play a significant role in mobilizing capital from others investors, building on Afreximbank’s expertise in trade finance to encourage additional foreign direct investment into Africa. At a meeting last week in Cairo, the fund’s CEO, Philip Kamau, indicated that there’s a goal to raise $450 million in additional foreign direct investment capital during the course of 2019.

While deal news was perhaps a little light on the ground last week, one in particular was noteworthy. DPI's second private equity fund added a thirteenth and final company to its portfolio last week. One of the larger of the bumper crop of funds raised in 2015, the $725 million fund is now fully deployed in 13 companies. For this latest deal, the London-headquartered private equity fund manager is backing International Facilities Services or IFS with $35 million of growth capital.

Financial services investor Arise finally got the go ahead to acquire a stake in Moza Banco. The deal, which was originally announced in mid-December, gives the Cape Town-based investment firm a 29.5% stake in the Mozambique bank. The price paid for the stake hasn’t been disclosed, as yet. Part of the rationale behind the transaction is to merge Moza Banco with another of local bank, BTM, in which Arise already holds a minority stake and build a local banking champion from the two organizations.

There were a couple of interesting portfolio company-related deals last week, both in Kenya. Telkom Kenya, part of Helios Investment Partners’ portfolio of assets, has agreed to merge its mobile, enterprise and carrier services businesses with Airtel Kenya. Once regulatory approvals have been granted and the deal is allowed to complete, Telkom could hold as much as 49% of the new company, which will be called Airtel-Telkom.

The transaction has been on the cards for a while, and is said to be part of a broader strategy by both companies to challenge Safaricom’s market leadership. Between them, the two operators hold a 23% share of the 41 million mobile subscribers who make up Kenya’s market. That’s still significantly lags Safaricom’s share, which stands at almost 72% and the disparity grows even wider in revenue terms.

Ramco Plexus, a print and packaging firm backed by Amethis has been given the green light to acquire a majority stake in Sintel Security Print Solutions. Kenya’s Competition Authority announced that it had given approval for the deal, which sees Ramco acquire a 73.6% stake in the Thika-based scratchcard maker.

Atlas Mara, the pan-African banking platform co-founded by Bob Diamond in 2013, is getting ready to undertake a strategic review of its operations. As part of the process, Bob Diamond is stepping down as Chairman of the company’s board and resuming his role as a non-executive director.

Michael Wilkerson, CEO of Atlas Mara’s largest shareholder, Fairfax Africa, takes over as the board’s Chairman. He'll lead the review of Atlas Mara, its operations and a number of its 2019 priorities.

That's it for this week. As always, you can review these and other stories by clicking through to this week's preview edition of the newsletter.

Allan Cunningham

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.

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