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Zenith, Access Bank Put in Bids to Buy Union Bank from Atlas Mara

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Zenith Bank of Nigeria and Access Bank have put in bids to purchase the rest of the assets of Atlas Mara the Pan-African banking group started by Bob Diamond, the largest of which is Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN), Bloomberg is reporting.

The London-listed group has received a number of approaches for its 49.97% holding in Lagos-based Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, Bloomberg reported.

Other African rivals such as Morocco’s Attijariwafa Bank have also expressed interest, the report said. Atlas Mara has been working with Rothschild & Co. to consider options for its Union Bank stake, Bloomberg News has reported.

No final decisions have been made, and there’s no certainty the deliberations will lead to a transaction.

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the need to reposition Atlas Mara, which has seen a plunge of about 96% in its stock since it started trading toward the end of 2013.

The firm’s stake in UBN, Nigeria’s sixth-biggest bank by market value, is its largest investment and seen as a foothold into the continent’s most populous nation.

MoneyCentral reported recently that a number of Nigerian Banks are looking to diversify their operations geographically in a bid to beat harsher regulations at home.

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