Barclays Africa Group has reportedly expressed interest in acquiring Nigerian lender Unity Bank for a sum of NGN87.6bn ($438m).
The board of Barclays Africa Group, led by Barclays Africa CEO Maria Ramos, has sent an Expression of Interest Letter to the board of Unity Bank and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), offering to buy out shareholders, according to a report carried by GroundReport.
Barclays Africa Group will pay Unity Bank shareholders 75 kobo per ordinary share, representing a 50% premium to Unity Bank’s current share price of 50 kobo.
Ramos said: "Barclays is seeking a re-entry into the Nigerian commercial banking space and our strategy is to acquire a lender that is not extremely large, but profitable in the short-term. Unity Bank is that bank."
Barclays Africa Group head of investment banking Temi Ofong said: "Unity Bank is a unique company with a strong track record, but it faces increased competition from commercial banks with greater scale and financial firepower."
This will be Barclays’ second foray into Nigeria following the acquisition of the Colonial Bank of Nigeria in 1925 which was incorporated as Barclays Bank of Nigeria in 1969.