In April 2019, Equity Group Holdings Plc had confirmed that it would acquire 62% shares Atlas Mara owns in BPR, a 100% of shares in African Banking Corporation Tanzania Limited, in African Banking Corporation Zambia Limited and in African Banking Corporation Mozambique Limited.
The value proposition was that Atlas Mara would receive 252 million Kenyan Shillings worth of shares in Equity Group Holdings Plc (6.27%). The Kenyan financial services holding company counts shares of up to 10.7 billion Kenyan Shillings ($106).
The transaction was expected to last between 4 and 6 months on Equity Group part and was to be approved by the Central Bank of Rwanda and Capital Market authorities.
The transaction is long overdue but Equity Group justified it saying that some clauses in the negotiations were not agreed upon.
In a communication Equity Group released this Thursday, January 2nd, 2020, it was confirmed that negotiations between Atlas Mara and Equity Group are still underway and both parts haven’t signed yet.
"Equity Group Holdings and Atlas Mara will keep negotiating in 2020 on how previous agreements can be implemented but until now no common agreement has been reached."
Equity Group reiterated its commitment to expanding its products and services across the region to extend financial services to more customers.
The Equity Bank communication mentions that while both parties are still negotiating acquisitions, shareholders in Nairobi, Rwanda, and Uganda should be cautious before buying more shares.
Michael Wilkerson, Atlas Mara Chairman had previously announced that the acquisitions were part of recent changes within Atlas Mara to focus on extending financial services to a larger population.
"We expect that the banks that will be acquired by Equity Group will have more opportunities to diversify their services and reach a broader market."
In January 2016, Atlas Mara completed its acquisition of a controlling stake of BPR after acquiring shares from existing shareholders and merging the bank with the commercial banking business that was spun off Rwanda Development Bank (BRD).
Equity Group Holdings has operations in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, South Sudan, Tanzania and DRC and deals in banking services, insurance and infrastructures to mention a few. Its total assets amount to $6 billion.
Equity Bank which is operated by Equity Group Holdings has a customer base of 13.5 million and has the largest footprint in the region with 290 branches.