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Access Bank speaks on ‘acquisition’ of Union Bank

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Earlier on Monday, July 8, 2019, there were reports on social media that Access Bank Plc was making moves to acquire Union Bank of Nigeria Plc.

This was coming three months after Access Bank completed its merger with Diamond Bank, which also first started as a rumour in late 2018, but was refuted by the former.

Access Bank, one of the five tier-one financial institutions in Nigeria, is known for expanding its operations by acquiring other banks.

In 2011, the lender completed the acquisition of Intercontinental Bank, which was one of the banks having huge prospects before the deal.

Eight years later, it completed a merger and acquisition agreement with Diamond Bank, a tier-two company believed to be undergoing tough time before the deal.

Last month, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, while rolling out his five-year plan, announced that there would be another recapitalisation exercise in the banking industry in the country.

This announcement made observers to start making assumptions of banks that may not survive this latest raising of capital base by the CBN to an amount yet to be disclosed. At the last exercise, the apex bank raised the capital base from N2 billion to N25 billion.

The latest disclosure by Mr Emefiele also brought about possible mergers in the sector, with some speculating banks that may possibly merge or be acquired by some bigger banks.

On Monday, there were rumours that Access Bank was already in talks with the management of Union Bank on the possibility of doing business together.

However, Access Bank, in a disclosure to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), denied being in talks with Union Bank.

“Our attention has been drawn to recent social media report of Access Bank being engaged in talks to acquire Union Bank of Nigeria.

“The Nigerian Stock Exchange and the general public are hereby advised to discountenance such rumour as same is devoid of truth.

“The bank is not engaged in any discussion with Union Bank of Nigeria or any of its shareholders regarding any such transaction,” the notice signed by the company secretary, Mr Sunday Ekwochi said.

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