Nigerian banks, Zenith and Access Bank Plc, are showing interest in acquiring the majority shares in Union Bank of Nigeria Plc (UBN) following the decision of Atlas Mara Limited to sell its remaining assets in Africa.
Atlas Mara Limited is a London-based banking group that has 49.97 percent stakes in Lagos-based Union Bank of Nigeria Plc.
Bloomberg sources said other African financial institutions such as Morocco’s Attijariwafa Bank, have also shown also interested in Union Bank.
It was gathered that Atlas Mara has received a number of approaches from Middle eastern banks and private equity investors to buy all of its remaining assets in Africa, including its Zimbabwe unit.
Atlas Mara has been working with Rothschild & Co. to consider options for its Union Bank stake but it was learnt that no final decisions have been made on the deal.
Zenith Bank didn’t immediately respond to requests for comments made by Bloomberg while Attijariwafa Bank Managing Director, Ismail Douiri, and a representative for Access Bank declined to comment.
Atlas Mara on Tuesday said it has secured regulatory approval for the sales of its businesses in Botswana.
The Union Bank of Nigeria was established in 1917 and is recognised as one of Nigeria’s long-standing and most respected financial institutions.
The Federal Government of Nigeria in 1972 acquired 51.67 percent ownership of the UBN, leaving Barclays Bank Plc of London with 40 percent ownership. In 1979, that 40 percent was sold to Nigerian individuals and businesses to comply with then recently enacted banking and investment laws.