The Rise Fund to Invest $200m in Airtel Africa’s Mobile Money Business

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  • Transaction values telecom giant’s mobile money business at $2.65bn

By Emma Okonji

Airtel Africa, provider of telecommunications and mobile money services, with presence in 14 African countries, Nigeria inclusive, has signed an agreement with The Rise Fund, the global impact investing platform.
With the sealed agreement, The Rise Fund will be investing $200 million in Airtel Africa’s Mobile Money Business, at $2.65 billion valuation.

Airtel Mobile Commerce BV (“AMC BV”), is a wholly owned subsidiary of Airtel Africa plc. AMC BV is currently the holding company for several of Airtel Africa’s mobile money operations; and is now intended to own and operate the mobile money businesses across all of Airtel Africa’s fourteen operating countries, including Nigeria.
The transaction values Airtel Africa’s mobile money business at $2.65 billion on a cash and debt free basis.

According to a statement issued by Airtel Africa, and signed by the Group Company Secretary, Simon O’Hara, “The Rise Fund will hold a minority stake in AMC BV upon completion of the transaction, with Airtel Africa continuing to hold the remaining majority stake. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions including necessary regulatory filings and approvals, as necessary, and the inclusion of specified mobile money business assets and contracts into AMC BV. The transaction is the latest step in the Group’s pursuit of strategic asset monetization and investment opportunities, and it is the aim of Airtel Africa to explore the potential listing of the mobile money business within four years.”
The Group is in discussions with other potential investors in relation to possible further minority investments into Airtel Money, up to a total of 25 per cent of the issued share capital of AMC BV.

According to the statement, the proceeds from the transaction would be used to reduce the Group’s debt and invest in network and sales infrastructure in the respective operating countries.

Airtel Africa mobile money services Operating under the Airtel Money brand, Airtel Africa’s mobile money services is a leading digital mobile financial services platform catering to a large addressable market in Africa, characterised by limited access to formal financial institutions with limited banking infrastructure, and includes mobile wallet deposit and withdrawals, merchant and commercial payments, benefits transfers, loans and savings, virtual credit card and international money transfers.