Top deals making headlines this week

In focus this week: Bharti Airtel, Ascendis Health, Helios Towers, Group Five and more.

Bharti Airtel

India's Bharti Airtel is in talks to buy Telkom Kenya, the East African nation's smallest telecoms operator, according to a report by Reuters.

A successful acquisition is expected to create a stronger challenger to market leader Safaricom. Airtel is currently Kenya's second-biggest telecoms operator. Read more here

Ascendis Health

JSE-listed healthcare group Ascendis Health said on Monday that it has received a buyout offer for its Remedica business unit based in Cyprus. Remedica is a generic pharmaceutical manufacturer based in Cyprus that was acquired by Ascendis Health in 2016 for R4.4 billion.

At the time, Remedica was Ascendis’ biggest offshore business as the company’s internationalisation continued to gain momentum.Read more here

Helios Towers

Telecommunications tower operator Helios Towers has entered the South African market through a partnership with local partner Vulatel, saying it expects to make “major greenfield wireless and fixed-line telecoms infrastructure investments in South Africa.”

The company announced on Monday that it will create a South African infrastructure platform with South Africa’s Vulatel, which will build wireless and fixed line open access infrastructure in South Africa. Read more

MC Mining

Coal exploration, development and mining company MC Mining announced on Monday that its R70 million acquisition of two properties for its Makhado coal project has been completed.

The JSE-listed company said it has completed the acquisition of the Lukin and Salaita properties – key surface rights required for its Makhado hard coking and thermal coal project. The acquisition was first announced on November 15, 2018. Read more here

Byju’s 

India’s education technology firm, Byju’s said it will acquire Osmo, a US-based learning platform for $120 million (R1.6 billion) – part of the firm’s ambition to expand internationally.

Osmo produces augmented reality games for iPads and iPhones that are targeted at children. Osmo was founded in 2013 by former Google employees Pramod Sharma and Jerome Scholle.The deal will enable Byju’s to tap into Osmo’s younger demographics of children aged between three and eight. Read more here

Agile Capital

South Africa’s Competition Tribunal, which assess competition issues on mergers and acquisitions, has approved private firm Agile Captial’s bid to increase its shareholding in Provest Group.

Provest is a specialist supplier of shotcrete to the mining industry. In its assessment, the Competition Tribunal concluded that Agile’s proposed transaction is “unlikely to substantially prevent or lessen competition in any market”. Read more here

Group Five

South Africa’s struggling construction firm Group Five said on Thursday that it plans to sell its Everite and Sky Sands subsidiaries to a consortium comprising Trinitas Private Equity and Agile Capital for R480 million.

The two subsidiaries are part of the manufacturing cluster of Group Five, which is one of South Africa’s remaining and largest construction companies.The deal is expected to be concluded in the second half of 2019. Read more here

Verimark

Shareholders of South African retailer Verimark on Thursday approved a plan to delist the company from the JSE and take it private.

About 94 percent of Verimark shareholders that attended a shareholder meeting on Thursday voted in favour of a delisting. About 43.3 percent of eligible shares were voted on. The company expects to be delisted from the JSE in February 19, 2019.

In October 2018, Verimark said its majority shareholder, the Van Straaten Family Trust, plans to acquire the remaining shares and delist the company from the JSE. Verimark said it had received notice from the Van Straaten Family Trust, which owns a more than 50 percent shareholding, that it planned to acquire the remaining minority interests in the company.

The Van Straaten Family Trust is linked to Michael van Straaten, the founder and CEO of Verimark.

Karan Beef

The proposed merger of Karan Beef Holdings merger with Karan Beef and Karan Beef Feedlot was approved by the Competition Tribunal on Wednesday with certain conditions.

Karan Beef Holdings is a newly incorporated special purpose entity, established for the proposed transaction. Karan Beef is involved in cattle slaughtering, deboning, packaging and selling beef carcasses and cuts.

Karan Beef Feedlot purchases calves from breeders and feeds them a special feed until maturity.The Competition Commission evaluated the proposed merger and recommended that the merger should be approved with conditions aimed at providing a means for historically disadvantaged persons to participate in commercial farming activities.