Last week in brief... Some of the bigger names were active in Africa's private capital markets last week. In the fundraising realm, Denham Capital announced the final close for its first stand-alone mining fund. The Houston--headquartered private equity firm has raised $558 million from a a broad group of global institutional investors. The Denham Mining Fund, which has a global remit, will target investments in companies which have both strong track records and strong management teams and are close to or already in production. As well as Africa, the fund will source deals in Australia, Canada and South America.
On the investment side, TPG Growth's Rise Fund is making its second African deal and acquiring a stake in Wilderness Holdings. The $2.1 billion impact investment fund is buying a significant minority share of the ecotourism group, which was originally founded in Botswana.
Wilderness established its first permanent safari camps in Botswana, providing guests with upmarket environmentally sustainable ecotourism experiences. Since then the firm has expanded to 7 countries across sub-Saharan Africa, offering its clients what the company's CEO, Keith Vincent, describes as life-changing journeys with a 'purpose'. The company also owns Wilderness Air, an airline specializing in transportation to remote areas.
One of Africa's "special opportunities" funds added a third asset to its first fund's portfolio last week. ASOCapital is backing SkyNet South Africa, a courier and express parcel business in a share acquisition and recapitalization deal in exchange for a significant minority stake in the business.
SkyNet joins OptiCo and Okuhle Media in ASOC Fund I's portfolio. The R205 million fund targets investments in businesses that are facing organizational, financial or operational challenges capital and know how to restructure or turn businesses around.
Branch International, the developer of mobile loan apps, has raised short-term paper from a syndicate of some 50 high net worth individuals in a deal arranged by Barium Capital. The total amount of fresh capital raised has been earmarked to help Branch expand its loan book further.
Headquartered in San Francisco, Branch currently serves markets in Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania through its offices in Nairobi and Lagos. Earlier this year, the firm raised a significant Series B round from come high-profile investors for the $70 million round, was reportedly growing by 20% month-over-month, having already served more than 1 million unique borrowers in Africa.
In people news, Matthew McGuire, who resigned from troubled Abraaj Group in May, is joining TPG Growth as a Partner. According to reports, he will concentrate on emerging markets, focusing on investments for TPG Growth's $2.1 billion Rise Fund which has made investments in Africa and Asia. McGuire had been with Abraaj for less than a year at the time of his resignation, ending up as the Dubai-headquartered investment firm's Chief Operating Officer in a management reshuffle that took place earlier this year.
And finally, SGG Group, the Luxembourg-headquartered investor services firm, has announced a deal to acquire Augentius, the provider of alternative investment solutions to the global private equity and real estate markets.
While some of Augentius's founders will leave the business once the deal is completed, several members of the firm's senior management team including Ian Kelly, Augentius's current CEO, J.P. Harrop, Hugh Stacey and James Watts will remain to take on senior leadership roles in the combined business.
The deal grows the value of assets under administration across the combined SGG Group to more that $400 billion, making SGG the fourth largest investor services firm operating globally. Once the Augentius deal is completed, SGG Group's headcount will be about 2,350 professionals across 24 jurisdictions.
That's it for this week. As always, you can review these and other stories by clicking through to this week's edition of the newsletter.
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.