The Star (Nairobi)

7 May 2013

Kenya: SA Firm Makes Sh3 Billion Buy Offer for Accesskenya

South African listed firm, Dimension Data, has offered to buy local internet service provider AccessKenya for Sh3.05billion.

The company announced yesterday it had made an open market offer to purchase 100 per cent of the company for Sh14.00 per share. AccessKenya has 218 million shares issued.

The company was listed in 2007 at an IPO price of Sh10 per share. It closed at Sh9.85 last week.

Market analysts noted the offer for the stock was attractive enough and could make the main shareholders, David and Jonathan Somen agree to sell - they have been looking out for buyers for a while.

"The 42 per cent premium offer to buy the company appears to be attractive, which means that investors are likely to accept it," said Eric Musau of Standard Investment Bank.

"This will imply that AccessKenya will get delisted subject to regulatory approval," Musau said.

The shareholders will also be entitled to receive the final dividend of 0.30 per share proposed by the AccessKenya board in respect of the year ended 31 December 2012.

AccessKenya eased by 3.05 per cent yesterday to close at 9.55 before the announcement.

" Access Kenya has rallied 117 per cent through today's close this year and the Somens had been in 'Go-Shop' Mode for a while now," said financial markets analyst Aly Khan Satchu.

The AccessKenya Group was founded by brothers David and Jonathan Somen, and was one of the first ISPs to launch in Kenya in 2000. CMA filings show the brothers increased their shareholding late last year to 30.26 per cent from 25.3 per cent mid-2011.

So AccessKenya has about 5,400 clients,owns and operates a 400 kilometre Fibre Optic Network in both Nairobi and Mombasa connecting over 500 commercial buildings.

Last year, it saw a 62 per cent rise in pre-tax profit to Sh212 million compared to Sh131 million in 2011 while turnover hit Sh1.9 billion

"At this point, due to regulatory constraints, we are unable to make any comment on the transaction," The Somens responded briefly on the purchase offer the communications office.

Derek Wilcocks, Dimension Data's Middle East and Africa CEO said in a statement " The acquisition of AccessKenya is in line with Dimension Data's goal to pursue a strategy of expansion in sub - Saharan Africa".

It currently operates in Kenya through subsidiaries Dimension Data Kenya, Internet Solutions Kenya, and Plessey Kenya and intends to merge its Internet Solutions Kenya business into Access Kenya.

"The growth opportunities and liberal and progressive ICT regulatory framework within Kenya make this market highly attractive for Dimension Data to establish an even stronger presence" Wilcocks added.

Other South African companies that have come shopping for local firms include South Africa's MTN Business, which acquired UUNET and Altech which bought Kenya Data Networks

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