Government makes a move for Absa

The government-owned Public Investment Corporation (PIC) says it will be forming a black-led investment group to bid for a stake in Barclays Africa.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Dan Matjila – head of the PIC – said that the group is in discussions with institutional investors managing black money, such as pensions funds.

He could not say how much of the Barclays Africa stake the group would bid for, as it currently doesn’t “have the check book to take it all”, but it is also looking at foreign partners.

The PIC currently manages close to R1.9 trillion, and manages the bulk of the South African government’s Employee Pension Fund.

Following a successful sell off of over 12% of its stake, Barclays currently holds 50.1% in the African operation, which it is looking to offload. As part of the initial sell-off, the PIC increased its stake in the group by 1.2%.

The PIC is one of the biggest shareholders in Barclays Africa, with a current holding of approximately 7%.

Along with the PIC, the banking group is also reportedly facing bids from former Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond, who has teamed up with US private equity group, Carlyle, to prepare a bid for the rest of the stake.

Other bids are reportedly coming from Abraaj and South African billionaire, Patrice Motsepe.

According to Bloomberg, the PIC has been in talks with Diamond and Motsepe relating to potential partnerships, but nothing has been firmed.

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Government makes a move for Absa