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Otedola Acquires Additional Stake in First Bank, Spends N44.8 billion

Billionaire Businessman, Mr. Femi Otedola, has increased his equity stake in FBN Holdings (FBNH) Plc to 7.57 per cent, in a move that may earn him a significant position as the largest single individual shareholder in the holding company for Nigeria’s oldest financial institution. FBNH is the holding company for First Bank of Nigeria and its former subsidiaries.

Multiple sources confirmed that Otedola has acquired an additional 2.5 per cent equity stake in FBNH, increasing his previous 5.07 per cent stake to 7.57 per cent. The billionaire has written to notify FBNH of the additional acquisition, in line with extant rules. However, FBNH has not filed any notification with the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) as at the time of filing this report.

The confirmation of additional acquisition by Otedola came few weeks after Newslead reported on “fresh scrambles for FBNH shares” as controversy continued over the status of major shareholdings in Nigeria’s oldest financial services group.

Otedola now has about 2.72 billion shares in FBNH including direct personal shareholding and indirect interests in five other firms. These represent 7.57 per cent of FBNH’s total issued share capital of 35.895 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each.

With this, Otedola is ahead of the declared 5.36 per cent equity stake held by Mr Tunde Hassan-Odukale. However, the final confirmation of the current shareholding structure of the group will be determined after the filing of statutory notification by the board of directors.

Sources in the know told newsmen yesterday that there might have been other acquisitions by other shareholders citing the surreptitious voluminous transactions that had characterized trading in FBNH in recent periods.

FBNH closed the week yesterday as the most-traded stock on the NGX with total turnover of 1.199 billion shares valued at N13.69 billion in 1,390 deals.

“In solidifying his holding, ultimately he will get the Chairman of the company being a single major shareholder except if others will jointly fight the position,” a major market dealer who was involved in the Otedola deals revealed.

Another stockbroking chief said with the diverse shareholding structure at FBNH, Otedola will “simply become the highest shareholder and the pivot and rally point of politicking in FBNH.”

“He has antecedents from Forte Oil. But he was able to hold sway at Forte Oil because of the shareholders’ structure, which may not favour him at FBNH. It is time that will tell if he can repeat the wave of his wand in FBNH,” the stockbroking chief said.

Otedola’s initial acquisition had triggered a regulatory review of his shareholding by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Rule 4.1 of the Guidelines for Licensing and Regulation of Financial Holding Companies in Nigeria stipulates that where shares amounting to five per cent of a holding company are acquired through the secondary market, such holding company shall apply for approval from the CBN within seven days of the acquisition. FBNH is also expected to notify the CAC of changes in its shareholding.

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