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FBN Holdings lists Otudeko’s company as majority investor | Otedola drops to second

FBN Holdings lists Otudeko's company as majority investor | Otedola drops to second FBN Holdings lists Otudeko's company as majority investor | Otedola drops to second

First Bank Nigeria (FBN) Holdings Plc has named Barbican Capital Limited, owned by Oba Otudeko, as its majority shareholder — ending months of uncertainty around the acquisition made in July 2023.

In the company’s unaudited consolidated financial statements for the period ended December 31, 2023, released on Thursday, FBN Holdings listed Barbican Capital as its majority shareholder, with Femi Otedola taking the second spot.

BACKSTORY TO DRAMA OVER MAJORITY SHAREHOLDER POSITION

In a notice on July 7, 2023, FBN Holdings said it received a notification also dated July 7, 2023, from Honeywell Group Limited, that its affiliate, Barbican Capital, acquired 4,770,269,843 units of shares or 13.3 percent stake — indicating the return of Otudeko to the financial institution he once chaired before he was sacked by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in April 2021.

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The acquisition resulted in Otedola losing his spot as the largest investor in FBN Holdings, as his stake held in the company was around 5.57 percent.

Despite acknowledging Barbican Capital’s investment, in the 2023 third quarter financial statements, FBN Holdings retained Otedola as its majority investor, with Otudeko’s name and company missing from the list of shareholders with 5 percent and above stake.

The exclusion of Otudeko followed the controversy that surrounded Barbican Capital’s investment, as Ecobank warned FBN Holdings against accepting the acquisition by Otudeko, over an alleged N13.5 billion debt.

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NEW DEVELOPMENT IN FBN HOLDINGS LIST OF MAJORITY SHAREHOLDERS

It was noted that the shares registered for Barbican Capital are 4.88 billion as of the end of 2023, representing 13.61 percent stake — higher than the 4.77 billion units of shares or 13.3 percent stake announced in July last year.

The statement showed Otedola slightly increased his direct shares to 40.03 million, representing 0.11 percent stake, from 10 million (0.03 percent) in 2022, while his indirect shares stood at 1.98 billion (5.54 percent), bringing his total shares to 2.02 billion and stake to 5.65 percent as of the end of last year.

Tunde Hassan-Odukale is the third largest shareholder with 1.59 billion shares representing 4.45 percent stake. He increased his investment in FBN Holdings from 1.58 billion shares or 4.42 percent stake held in 2022.

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CONTROVERSY OVER OTUDEKO’S ACQUISITION

In a letter dated, July 7, 2023, Ecobank accused Otudeko of “diverting his assets and that of the Honeywell Group of companies through the said Barbican Capital Limited, in order to frustrate the enforcement of the judgment of the supreme court against him”.

However, Otudeko said supreme court did not award N13.5 billion judgment debt against him and asked FBN Holdings to disregard Ecobank’s request for it to reject his acquisition.

Also, according to a fact check by TheCable, although the supreme court determined that Otudeko’s companies owe Ecobank, it did not state any amount — indicating Ecobank’s claim that the apex court ruled that there is a N13.5 billion debt is incorrect.

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The acquisition also drew the attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as a top official of the regulator disclosed that Otudeko’s acquisition was under investigation.

This was followed by protest from some of FBN Holdings’ shareholders at the company’s headquarters, with placards reading: ‘Oba Otudeko, First Bank is not your property, and ‘First Bank is Greater than you, Otudeko’.

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Meanwhile, on Wednesday, FBN Holdings announced Otedola as board chairman, two years after the billionaire said he has no interest in holding any position in the company or any of its subsidiaries.

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