IHS Towers settles dispute with Wendel 

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January 17, 2024
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5 min read
IHS Towers

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Ni hao,

Victoria from Techpoint here,

Here's what I've got for you today: 

  • IHS Towers settles dispute with Wendel
  • Microsoft and Vodafone’s $1.5 billion investment in Africa and Europe
  • General Atlantic to acquire Actis

IHS Towers settles dispute with Wendel

IHS Towers

IHS Towers, an African cell tower operator, has settled corporate governance issues with Wendel, its second-largest shareholder.

IHS had a governance dispute with some shareholders, including Mobile operator MTN Group — which has a 26% stake in the company — and French financial investor Wendel.

Their argument: Among other things, Wendel and MTN, who jointly control nearly 45% of the business, argued that all shareholders with at least a 10% stake ought to be able to nominate people for the board.

However, things took a turn for the worse when Wendel filed a lawsuit in the Court of the Cayman Islands, attempting to force an IHS vote on governance proposals that the board had forgotten to raise at the June 2023 shareholders' meeting.

What’s new? IHS and Wendel have agreed to reduce the ownership threshold for shareholders to propose business at a general meeting or nominate directors in the recently reached agreement.  

Individual shareholder value will decrease from 30% to 10% following IHS's 2024 annual general meeting (AGM), and aggregate value will decrease following the 2025 AGM.

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Furthermore, a new provision has been introduced that allows shareholders who own at least 25% of the shares to call for a general meeting following IHS's 2025 AGM.

The threshold for removing a director via shareholder vote will be reduced to a 50% majority, down from the current 2/3 majority.

In other IHS news, the company has announced an initial public offering (IPO) of 22.5 million common shares.

IHS Towers presents 18 million shares of this total, while specific selling shareholders offer the remaining 4.5 million.

The underwriters have a 30-day option to purchase up to 2.7 million additional common shares from IHS Towers and 675,000 common shares from the selling shareholders at the IPO price as part of the offering. The IPO's estimated price range is currently $21 to $24 per share.

 Microsoft and Vodafone’s $1.5 billion investment in Africa and Europe  

Vodafone

Vodafone and Microsoft plan to invest $1.5 billion over the next decade in Africa and Europe.

The companies aim to offer digital services, generative AI, and cloud solutions to over 300 million customers and businesses in Europe and Africa within the next ten years.

Microsoft will use Vodafone's fixed and mobile connectivity services and invest in Vodafone's managed IoT connectivity platform, which will operate independently by April 2024.

The UK telco is present in 47 African countries, including the DR Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa, Kenya, and Lesotho, with 186 million customers across the continent.

The collaboration could transform Vodafone's global data centre cloud strategy and revolutionise the company's customer experience using Microsoft's generative AI.

It also plans to increase M-PESA’s — Kenya’s Safaricom mobile money platform — reach and enhance financial inclusion across Africa.

Additionally, this new partnership will produce digital services that leverage the latest developments in generative AI technology to deliver a unique and highly personalised customer experience across several channels.   

Zoom out: Vodafone and Amazon collaborated in September 2023 to expand 4G/5G services to new areas, eliminating the need for costly and time-consuming investments in fixed wireless or fibre-based connections to their core networks.

General Atlantic to acquire Actis

Garden City, Kenya.
Garden City, Kenya. (Image credit: Estate Intel)

General Atlantic, a New York-based growth equity firm, plans to acquire Actis, a London-based energy infrastructure investor, in an undisclosed deal expected to close in the second quarter of 2024.

This action will create a diversified global platform with assets under management (AUM) of $96 billion, including growth equity, credit, real estate, and sustainable infrastructure.

The acquisition is consistent with General Atlantic's long-term strategy for increasing infrastructure investment. 

Actis, which manages $12.5 billion in assets across 17 countries, has contributed significantly to Africa's infrastructure financing. The company will take over as General Atlantic's sustainable infrastructure division

The company has invested more than $2 billion in energy infrastructure across the continent over the last 20 years, most notably in projects such as the Azura Energy Project, Rack Centre, Ikeja City Mall, and Accra Mall.

The transaction reflects a broader industry trend, with increased global interest in infrastructure investments, particularly renewable energy projects.

The announcement last week that BlackRock, a multinational investment company, would acquire Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) for approximately $12.5 billion demonstrates the growing global focus on infrastructure investments.

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Have a lovely Wednesday!

Victoria Fakiya for Techpoint Africa.

She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.
She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.
She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.

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