LENDER Standard Bank SBKJ.J is to take full control of insurer Liberty Holdings LBHJ.J, the two South African companies said on Thursday, with current shareholders to receive cash and shares worth around 8.6 billion rand ($594 million) in total.
Standard Bank already owns 54% of the insurer, and wants to acquire the remaining 96 million shares excluding those of one other shareholder, in a deal that would see Liberty de-listed from the Johannesburg bourse and subsumed into the lender.
Africa’s largest bank by assets said in a statement that the move was a natural progression in the companies’ relationships, and in line with its strategy of offering a wider set of financial services to its customers across the continent.
“This will be a whole that will be much greater than the sum of its parts,” Chief Executive Officer Sim Tshabalala said, adding the transaction would also bring significant capital efficiencies and opportunities for growth.
Liberty CEO David Munro said in the joint statement the board planned to recommend the deal to shareholders, describing it as a vote of confidence in the insurer and creating a “united and formidable competitor in financial services in Africa, at scale”.
Standard Bank will offer 0.5 Standard Bank shares and a cash payment of 14.40 rand for each Liberty share, while Liberty will also pay shareholders 11.10 rand, they said, adding the deal is subject to approval by investors and regulators.
Standard Bank, which also outlined a plan to acquire Liberty’s preference shares, said this represented a 32.6% premium to the insurer’s closing price on July 14.
It had already received letters supporting the transaction from Liberty investors holding 41 million shares in aggregate, it added.