Top deals and corporate moves making headlines this week

In focus this week: Samsung, Pam Golding Properties, Clover Industries, Famous Brands and more.

It has been another jam-packed week for mergers and acquisitions and career changes for dealmakers. Here’s what caught our attention:

Pam Golding

Pam Golding Properties announced on Thursday that it has entered into a strategic joint venture partnership with global auction house BidX1.

The collaboration between Pam Golding Properties and BidX1 is set to bring greater innovation and transparency to the auction property transaction process in South Africa.

“There is no doubt that this technological auction sales channel will add value to our service offering and our value proposition to the various markets in which we operate. This partnership will indeed add a new dimension to the South African auction property market and thereby provide our agents and sellers and buyers with increased opportunities in this space,” said Dr Andrew Golding, chief executive of the Pam Golding Property group.

Samsung

Samsung Electronics announced on Wednesday that it plans to acquire Zhilabs, a company that offers AI-based network and service analytics.

“The acquisition lays the foundation for Samsung to foster its 5G offerings of automation and network analytics to finely tune the customer experiences in the 5G era,” Samsung said.

According to Samsung, AI-based automation will play a central role in the introduction of new services in the 5G era, such as industrial Internet of Things and connected cars. “5G will enable unprecedented services attributed to the generation of exponential data traffic, for which automated and intelligent network analytics tools are vital,” said Youngky Kim, President and Head of Networks Business at Samsung Electronics.

Clover Industries

Clover Industries, South Africa’s largest dairy producer, said on Friday that it was in talks with an unnamed firm for its potential acquisition. In a statement, Clover said a third party intends to acquire its entire issued share capital.  The company didn’t provide further details.

Intu Properties

JSE-listed shopping centre owner Intu Properties said on Friday that it was considering a takeover offer from a consortium led by its deputy chairman John Whittaker.

Intu said the takeover offer, which is backed by the Peel Group, the Olayan Group and Brookfield Property Group (the consortium), has been increased by 4.8 percent to £2.15. The consortium, which wants to take Intu private, initially made an offer of £2.05 per Intu share on October 11.

The new offer sent its shares 12 percent higher during Friday’s intra-day trade on the JSE. Intu is also listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Famous Brands

JSE-listed Famous Brands shed R880 million from its market capitalisation on Monday after the restaurant franchiser said it faces an R874 million impairment on its R2.1 billion acquisition of a UK-based burger business in 2016.

Famous Brands blamed the impairment on tough trading conditions, which resulted in sustained underperformance of its UK-based Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK) business.

Since Famous Brands acquired GBK in 2016 – the biggest deal under former CEO Kevin Hedderwick – the business has not lived up to expectations. The R874 million impairment of GBK, which Famous Brands announced on Monday, suggests that it overpaid for the acquisition. 

Investec Asset Management

Investec Asset Management, a subsidiary of Investec, has acquired a controlling stake in private college operator Richfield Holdings, marking its first investment in Africa’s education sector. 

The company announced on Thursday that the Richfield acquisition was made through its private equity fund, African Private Equity, but didn’t disclose the size of its stake or the cost of the deal. 

Investec Asset Management’s investment will help Richfield to expand its course offerings, open new sites for campuses, grow the blended model of distance learning and expansion into the rest of Africa.

Mr Price

Fashion and homeware retailer Mr Price announced on Thursday that its CEO Stuart Bird will retire and be succeeded by CFO Mark Blair on January 1, 2019.

Stuart, who has been CEO of Mr Price since August 2010 and an executive director since September 2006, will be retiring as CEO on December 31, 2018, and as an executive director at the end of March 2019. Mr Price said Stuart’s retirement, shortly before he turns 60 years, has been anticipated by its board of directors. 

Real Foods

Real Foods, the owner of health food chains Kauai, Nü Health Food Café and Kohu, has hired two former JSE-listed company CEOs as directors ahead of the company’s “potential future listing plans.”

Real Foods announced on Monday that it recruited Kevin Hedderwick, the former CEO of restaurant franchiser Famous Brands and Antony Ball, the former CEO of investment holding firm Brait.

Kevin has joined the Real Foods board as group strategic director while Antony has also joined the company’s board as of October 1, 2018.