Backlays Plc has sold its majority stake in its Zimbabwean operation to Malawi’s First Merchant Bank (FMB), putting an end to months of a fierce bidding war to take over one of the country’s iconic financial institutions, according to reports.
The First Merchant Bank announced it is in exclusive discussions to buy Barclays Bank Zimbabwe.
FMB said in a statement on its website it is in exclusive talks to buy out the 68 percent of Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe which are owned by the British company.
The remaining 32 percent of Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe’s shares are traded on the Zimbabwe stock exchange.
“It’s a done deal,” Zimbabwe Independent quoted a source. “It was signed in London yesterday (Tuesday). Barclays Plc and FMB managers have just arrived in Harare for meetings to finalise the transaction pending regulatory approvals.”
According to report in Zimbabwe Independent and NewsDay of Zimbabwe, Barclays Bank Zimbabwe was established in 1912, and has operated in the country continuously since then, making it a landmark feature on the local financial services landscape.
The bank, listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE), has over 1 000 employees and a countrywide network of 38 branches in main urban areas.
Barclays Bank Plc, which held 67,68% shareholding in the local unit, last year announced it was disposing of its African assets, including in Zimbabwe, to focus on British and American markets.
Barclays Bank Zimbabwe, alongside the Egyptian business, was not part of the 2013 deal that saw Barclays Africa, formerly ABSA, acquire eight African operations from its parent company due to high local political risk.