Nigerian billionaire businessman, Femi Otedola has revealed in a statement how the chairman of UBA and his fellow billionaire, Tony Elumelu arm twisted him over Transcorp shares.
The statement on Tuesday contained detailed disclosure by Otedola that he offered N250 billion to acquire the firm and take its market capitalisation to N2 trillion
Two weeks ago, it was in the news that Otedola had acquired extra 5.52 shares of Transcorp, making him the controlling shareholder. But the story later turned, and what caused that twist is what he explained in the state.
It is essentially a boardroom political game of wits which Elumelu, the UBA chief is in the middle of it, or even created.
Otedola hinted that he had the best of intentions to bid for the shares which he claimed would have injected more verve to unlock the company’s full revenue potential.
“I offered to buy Transcorp Plc for N250 billion, but unfortunately, my offer was rejected. My goal was to maximize the company’s potential as a Nigerian conglomerate with a market cap of at least N2 trillion instead of the current N40 billion, but it seems some shareholders have a different vision,” he said.
“As a businessman, I believe in healthy competition and market dynamics. Two captains cannot man a ship, and I respect the majority shareholder’s decision to buy me out. This is the nature of the game.
“But let me be clear: my offer was made with the best intentions for Transcorp Plc and its shareholders. I saw an opportunity to unlock the company’s full potential and create value for everyone involved.”
He later sold the 5.52 percent shares and his entire shareholding to Elumelu.
Otedola explained in details that: “In 2005, while Tony was the Managing Director of Standard Trust Bank he approached me to get funds to acquire UBA. I enthusiastically gave him $20 million, which was N2 billion at that time to buy the necessary shares in UBA for the acquisition,” he added.
“After a short period of time, the share price moved up and I decided it was a good moment to sell and get out of the bank. However, Tony appealed to me to hold on to the shares as he was convinced that there were future prospects – so I kept the shares.
“I became Chairman of Transcorp Hotel in 2007 with a shareholding of 5% and unknowingly Tony gradually started buying shares quietly.
“By the following year in 2008, I went bankrupt in Nigeria. Tony proceeded to take my shares in UBA to service the interest on my loans and he also took over my shares in Africa Finance Corporation, where I was the largest shareholder.
“Shortly after, Albert Okumagba informed me that an American firm wanted to acquire my shares in Transcorp, which I then agreed to sell. However, this supposed American firm turned out to be Tony Elumelu. The revelation of this prompted me to resign as Chairman of the hotel.
“Years later in 2012 Tony said he wanted to see me so we met in my office where I had previously had a meeting with foreign investors who had not yet departed the premises.
“Curious to know, he asked what sort of meeting I had had and I disclosed that I wanted to go into the power business, specifically Ughelli Power Plant. Tony quietly went ahead to bid for Ughelli and he outbid me by offering to buy the plant for $300 million. And as some would say: the rest is history.”