Otedola speaks on why his N250Bn to buy up Transcorp was rejected

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…Opens up on Elumelu’s backstabbing business style
…How Elumelu cornered his businesses, shares

By Joyce Remi-Babayeju

Business tycoon Femi Otedola has opened up on why his N250 billion offer to buy up Transcorp was rejected by Chairman of United Bank for Africa, UBA, Tony Elumelu.

Otedola disclosed that he had offered N250 billion to acquire the firm and take its market capitalisation to N2 trillion
But the bid was turned down.

According to the business mongul, his move was to unlock the company’s full revenue potential.

“I offered to buy Transcorp Plc for N250 billion, but unfortunately, my offer was rejected. My goal was to maximize the company’s potential as a Nigerian conglomerate with a market capital of at least N2 trillion instead of the current N40 billion, but it seems some shareholders have a different vision.”

“As a businessman, I believe in healthy competition and market dynamics. Two captains cannot man a ship, and I respect the majority shareholder’s decision to buy me out. This is the nature of the game.”

“But let me be clear, my offer was made with the best intentions for Transcorp Plc and its shareholders. I saw an opportunity to unlock the company’s full potential and create value for everyone involved.”

However, recently Otedola got a 5.52 percent stake in Transcorp Plc, making him the company’s second-largest shareholder, but he sold out his whole holding to Elumelu.

Meanwhile, going down memory lane, Otedola disclosed his relationship with the UBA chairman and his plans for Transcorp before the rejection of the bid.

“In 2005, while Tony was the Managing Director of Standard Trust Bank he approached me to get funds to acquire UBA. I enthusiastically gave him $20 million, which was N2 billion at that time to buy the necessary shares in UBA for the acquisition,”

“After a short period of time, the share price moved up and I decided it was a good moment to sell and get out of the bank. However, Tony appealed to me to hold on to the shares as he was convinced that there were future prospects – so I kept the shares.”

“I became Chairman of Transcorp Hotel in 2007 with a shareholding of 5% and unknowingly Tony gradually started buying shares quietly.”

“By the following year in 2008, I went bankrupt in Nigeria. Tony proceeded to take my shares in UBA to service the interest on my loans and he also took over my shares in Africa Finance Corporation, where I was the largest shareholder.”

“Shortly after, Albert Okumagba informed me that an American firm wanted to acquire my shares in Transcorp, which I then agreed to sell. However, this supposed American firm turned out to be Tony Elumelu. The revelation of this prompted me to resign as Chairman of the hotel.”

“Years later in 2012 Tony said he wanted to see me so we met in my office where I had previously had a meeting with foreign investors who had not yet departed the premises.”

“Curious to know, he asked what sort of meeting I had had and I disclosed that I wanted to go into the power business, specifically Ughelli Power Plant. Tony quietly went ahead to bid for Ughelli and he outbid me by offering to buy the plant for $300 million. And as some would say: the rest is history, Otedola said.

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