Wananchi Group cedes 75pc stake in debt conversion deal – Business Daily
Three foreign firms, which have been allowed by the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) to convert their debt in Wananchi Group into shares, have taken a 75 per cent stake in the firm.
The trio –Triple HoldCo Limited, Liberty Global Europe 2 Limited, and Altice Africa S.A.R.L— have diluted earlier shareholders down to 25 per cent according to sources familiar with the transaction.
CAK okayed the proposed conversion of debt by the trio to Wananchi Group (Holdings) to equity in what has accorded them controlling rights.
Wananchi is Kenya’s second largest provider of digital pay TV, broadband internet, and voice-over-IP services by data/internet subscription numbers. Its services operate under the brand name Zuku for retail clients and Simbanet for corporates.
Triple HoldCo Limited is a Mauritian company, Liberty Global Europe 2 Limited (Liberty) is based in the United States of America while Altice Africa S.A.R.L (Altice) is Luxembourg-based.
The competitions watchdog notes that its post-merger analysis shows there will be no significant change in the entity’s market structure and it will not negatively impact employment.
Wananchi Group started off as Wananchi Online in 2000 with ICT Cabinet secretary Joe Mucheru and former chief executive Njeri Rionge among its founders.
The internet and pay TV provider currently has operations in a dozen African countries including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Sudan, Burundi, Ethiopia, Somalia, Zambia, Malawi, and Mauritius.
In 2008, the business transformed into Wananchi Group after new investors joined the company following several rounds of fundraising.
This resulted in Wananchi Group adopting a complex ownership structure made up of several classes of shares (A, B, C, D, and E); multiple special purpose vehicles; and a hybrid financing structure designated as mezzanine, senior, and, junior debt.