Access Bank denies merger, acquisition talks with Diamond

Access Bank building
Access Bank building

The management of Access Bank has denied reports that it is in merger and acquisition talks with Diamond Bank Plc.

The bank in a prompt disclosure sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, on Monday said it has not entered into any such discussion with Diamond Bank or any other institution.

The disclosure, signed by Sunday Ekwochi, Access Bank secretary, said the bank would not go ahead with such corporate action without appropriate disclosure to relevant authorities.

“As a publicly quoted company built on best practice, the bank is fully cognizant of its disclosure obligations in respect of any such corporate action and will always discharge its obligations in the most professional manner,” the disclosure said.

The bank, thereafter, urged the market and the Nigerian public to disregard any such information emanating from other sources other than the bank.

Earlier on Monday, Diamond Bank PLC had also denied that it is in ongoing discussions with Access Bank Plc over possible acquisition. A statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES by the spokesperson of the bank, Chioma Afe, described as rumour the purported ongoing discussions. The bank also made a prompt disclosure of same denial to the NSE Monday morning.

A report in The Nation newspaper on Monday claimed Access Bank was on the verge of acquiring Diamond Bank to increase its assets portfolio.

Although the report made no formal attribution for the acquisition plan, it however said the merger plan might materialize latest by the first quarter of next year.

According to the report, apart from an agreement in broad terms reached on the acquisition plan by both banks, both parties would soon commence assets valuation to enable them determine the level of compensation and systems’ integration.

Stakeholders’ interest in the development was heightened by the bank’s public records in recent months.

In October, Diamond Bank confirmed the immediate resignation of its chairman and three non-executive directors. They include Oluseyi Bickersteth, who was recently appointed the bank’s chairman; Rotimi Oyekanmi, Juliet Anammah and Aisha Oyebode, the affected directors resigned for varied personal reasons.

The bank said they resigned for various reasons but PREMIUM TIMES learnt the resignations were a fallout of a protracted dispute involving a major investor, Carlyle Group (NASDAQ CG), over the composition of the board of the bank.

On Monday, however, the bank in its disclosure debunked reports of possible merger with Access bank.

“We wish to state categorically that the bank is not in discussions with any financial institution at the moment on any form of merger or acquisition,” Ms Afe said.

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