By Peter Egwuatu
Femi Otedola, a billionaire businessman, may have acquired 10 per cent stake in First Bank of Nigeria with N30 billion worth of shares, making him the bank’s single largest shareholder following the crisis that rocked the Board of Directors recently.
Though, there has not been official confirmation from the regulatory authorities as at the time of filling in the report.
The Nigerian Exchange Limited, NGX spoke person, Mr Clifford Akpolo, who spoke to Vanguard said ” The bank nor the NGX Reguation has not notified the Exchange of such deal. It is expected that for a person to buy up to five per cent of a company’s share it must be disclosed to the NGX and the public. So it is speculation for now until the NGX is notified. “
Meanwhile, some of the shareholders of the bank who spoke to Vanguard said : “If it is true that he is now the single majority shareholder it means that Otedola must have taken opportunity of the crisis that rocked the Board of Directors of First Bank of Nigeria Holding, FBNH, Plc.
The shareholders who did not want their names disclosed said: “Otedola
sold his 75 per cent direct and indirect shareholding in Forte Oil in 2019 through a merger of his business Zenon Oil with previous African Petrified Oil and they became all the more curious as to what his next move would be. He didn’t keep them guessing too long as he soon announced that he wanted to explore and maximize business opportunities in refining and petrochemicals.”
According to the shareholders: “Even though he also had investments in the real estate and financial sector, Otedola singled out First Bank for the single reason that there wasn’t exactly one man calling the shots there, unlike in other new generation banks.
“He wasted no time in taking advantage of the leadership crisis that rocked First Bank not too long ago that the Central Bank of Nigeria sacking both the chairman of the bank, Ibukun Awosika and Obafemi Otudeko, the chairman of FBN Holdings.
Otedola made his movements, and today he is a better person as a result of them.”
Meanwhile, another shareholder of the bank said” Otedola made a decision to be the highest majority shareholder and approach those with bulk shares negotiate and buy from them. May be he also bought from the floor strategically.”