Atlas Mara Denies Reports on Offers to Sell Stake in Nigeria’s Union Bank

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The major shareholder in Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, Atlas Mara Limited, has denied media reports that it has received offers to sell off its stake in the first generation bank.

A few days ago, there were reports that Atlas Mara was planning to transfer its 50 per cent holdings to a bank in Nigeria.

In March 2020, there were reports that Zenith Bank, one of the five biggest lenders in the country, was considering a merger with Union Bank, but both financial institutions denied the reports.

When a popular online news platform in Nigeria, Premium Times, claimed Atlas Mara was planning to sell its stake in the old generation bank, many observers flashed back to the 2020 merger reports.

But Atlas Mara, in a statement, said it was not aware of any bank approaching it for the acquisition of its shares in Union Bank.

“Atlas Mara Limited, the sub-Saharan African financial services group, issues the following statement in response to media reports incorrectly stating that Atlas Mara has received offers from local banks wishing to buy over Union Bank.

“While it is the company’s practice to refrain from comment on market rumours or speculation, we believe it is important to note that Atlas Mara has not received any offers from any local Nigerian bank or other bank wishing to acquire the company’s stake in Union Bank of Nigeria.

“As previously announced to the market in 2019, the board of the company has been exploring a wide range of strategic options with the assistance of external advisers; that process is still underway and the company’s strategic objectives have not changed,” the firm said.

Also reacting, Union Bank urged the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), other regulatory agencies and members of the public “to disregard the publication in its entirety” because it is not true.

The local lender said it agreed totally with the response given by Atlas Mara on the subject matter as the reports were “purely based on mere rumours and speculations.”