Standard Bank has revealed plans to acquire 100% ownership in financial services firm Liberty Holdings. Standard Bank is Africa’s largest bank by assets, and the acquisition is expected to expand the bank’s network across the continent.
Standard Bank already owns a 54% stake in insurer and asset manager Liberty, whose shares soared 25% on the news.
Africa’s largest bank by assets said the move was a natural progression in their relationship that was in line with its strategy of offering a wider set of financial services to its customers across the continent.
“We are creating a more united group that will bring our banking, insurance and asset management businesses much closer together to create something really special,” Standard Bank Group CEO Sim Tshabalala.
The deal is set to bring capital efficiencies and growth opportunities, with insurance penetration in African markets at just 17% or lower.
The two groups said the merger would give them superior scale and more ability to capitalise on one another’s customer bases, complementary products and technology.
Liberty Holdings is among the biggest insurance companies in Africa, with a presence in 12 African nations. The South African company owns a 57% stake in Liberty Kenya Holdings and is in the process of acquiring additional shares in the company.
However, the merger between Standard Bank and Liberty Holdings is subject to approval from shareholders and relevant authorities and is expected to be finalised by the end of the first quarter of 2022.
In a public statement, Standard Bank said, “We expect that the strong alignment of Standard Bank Group and Liberty’s purposes and goals should allow for an accelerated and seamless integration of the businesses.” The two financial institutions will continue to operate as separate entities until their goals and objectives are fully aligned.