Femi Otedola, a billionaire businessman, has taken over First Bank of Nigeria Plc with his recent acquisition of about N30 billion worth of shares, making him the bank’s single largest shareholder. He had a humongous loan portfolio of N192 billion in 2012 via his then Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd, which was eventually passed on to the Asset Management Company of Nigeria.
This always means that, as the largest shareholder, he owns the most voting shares and, as a result, has the most authority over the bank’s direction.
The shares of FBN Holding, one of Nigeria’s tier one banks, were purportedly mopped up by an entity headed by Femi Otedola, a millionaire investor and charismatic personality.
According to various people familiar with the transaction, Otedola’s controlling ownership of FBN Holding Company, which owns Nigeria’s oldest bank, First Bank, is about to be inverted after months of cautious and meticulous purchases of the company’s shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange’s floor.
According to our sources, Femi Otedola has become the bank’s main shareholder, with an announcement expected in the coming days.
For months, the billionaire investor and turnaround specialist known for taking over African Petroleum and turning it into a dominant player in the downstream space of the oil and gas sector has been scooping up shares of the bank, gradually increasing his ownership and surpassing any other single shareholder’s ownership.
According to our information, Mr. Otedola has been buying bank shares through a company called Calvados Global Services Ltd.
There’s also a chance that Mr Otedola’s other vehicles were scooping up shares as well.
FBNH now has 34.7 billion shares floating freely, indicating that it is held by a diversified group of investors.
This makes it simple to buy shares on the stock exchange.
According to FBN Holdings’ most recent audited financial statements, no shareholder owns more than 5% of the banking behemoth.
According to our sources, Mr. Otedola now owns over 5% of the bank through proxies and investment entities, putting him in position to become the firm’s single largest shareholder.
Shares of FBNH have been scooped up over the last 6 months, according to our sources, when the share price was just above N7.
However, rumors of an impending takeover began to circulate among traders, driving the bank’s stock price above the N8 ceiling by the end of September.
Traders with knowledge of the transaction claimed off-market block purchases in the hundreds of millions of units, however it was not immediately clear who was behind the buy.
As the rumors spread in October, FBNH’s stock price soared to N12 per share, a gain of 69 percent in just two weeks.
When it became evident that Mr Otedola was behind some of the major purchases, most of the demand for the stock turned bullish, according to traders who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Investors, according to one trader, perceive his probable takeover of the bank as a positive indication, noting the same enthusiasm that accompanied Forte Oil’s stock price gain of over 1000 percent in 2013, making it one of the best-performing stocks of the year.