Ex-Barclays CEO Bob Diamond may buy his former employer’s Africa operation

Blast from the past.
Blast from the past.
Image: Reuters/David Moir
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Former Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond is preparing a bid for the African operations of his past employer, according to multiple reports. Atlas Merchant Capital, Diamond’s New York-based investment vehicle, is teaming up with the private equity firm Carlyle Group to make a bid for Barclays’ stake in Barclays Africa Group, Sky News first reported, citing unnamed sources.

The British bank announced in March that it plans to sell its 62% stake in its Africa operations—a move that many interpreted as another sign of Africa’s dimming economic prospects as commodity prices fall and Chinese demand slows. Diamond, who resigned from the bank in 2012 over the manipulation of interbank lending rates, was soon floated as a potential buyer.

Analysts doubted whether Diamond’s group would be able to afford the estimated $3 billion stake (paywall). Several banks have expressed interest in purchasing parts of the stake but Barclays PLC has said that it wants to sell the whole group as one. In addition to Carlyle, Diamond may be teaming up with other investors, such as Ashish Takkar (paywall), Diamond’s co-founder on Atlas Mara, his Africa-focused investment vehicle.

Diamond and Carlyle are in the process of putting a bid together, but no formal offer has been made yet, according to reports. The Carlyle Group and Atlas Merchant Group did not respond to our requests for comment.