Union Bank Plc Dispels Rumour about impending Divestment by Core Investor
Tier-2 Nigerian bank, Union Bank Plc, has reacted to a media publication which suggested that its major investor, Atlas Mara Limited, was in the process of divesting its 50% shareholding.
According to a public disclosure that was signed by the Company Secretary (Somuyiwa Sonubi) and sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Premium Time made unsubstantiated claims in its January 23rd article caption “Union Bank’s Principal Owner considering sale of 50% stake”.
To this end, Union Bank Plc advised its all concerned stakeholders (including regulators, investors, and the general public) to disregard the publication.
In a similar development, Atlas Mara Limited also released a statement which strongly condemned the publication by Premium Times, describing it as “rumours”. However, the company made it clear that it is currently exploring various options.
“While it is the Company’s practice to refrain from comment on market rumours or speculation, we believe it is important to note that Atlas Mara has not received any offers from any local Nigerian bank or other bank wishing to acquire the Company’s stake in Union Bank of Nigeria (“UBN”). As previously announced to the market in 2019, the Board of the Company has been exploring a wide range of strategic options with the assistance of external advisers. That process is still underway and the Company’s strategic objectives have not changed,” part of the statement by Atlas Mara said.
This brings us back to the media report under contention. Premium Times had cited Bloomberg which quoted people with insider knowledge about the situation. Apparently, Atlas Mara had received acquisition bids from both domestic and foreign parties interested in acquiring its 50% shareholding in the Nigerian bank. Now, there is a strong possibility that this is actually the case. But then again, Nigerian companies are notorious for trying to quell media reports about impending deals such as this, until they are finally ready to disclose the news themselves.
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