21 December 2018

Africa: Carlyle Group Invests $40 Million in Wakanow.com

Global alternative asset manager, the Carlyle Group (NASDAQ: CG), has announced its investment of $40 million in Wakanow.com Limited (Wakanow).

Wakanow is an online travel agency focused on West and East Africa, with major operations in Nigeria. Other equity from Carlyle's Sub-Saharan Africa fund and further financial details were, however, not disclosed.

Founded in 2009 in Nigeria, Wakanow is one of West Africa's largest full-service online travel companies, providing its customers with a one-stop online booking portal for flights, hotels, holiday packages, and other travel services and ancillaries.

Complementing their online offering, Wakanow also operates a network of traditional brick-and mortar travel centres and has operations in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, the United Arab Emirate (UAE) and the United Kingdom.

Wakanow enjoys strong brand recognition and a scale advantages in its local markets. This investment adds to Carlyle's experience in the online travel sector, where it has invested in companies such as C-trip, one of the major online travel agencies operating across China, the Latin American travel and tour operator CVC Brasil, and Vasco Turismo, one of the largest travel operations groups in Peru.

Its Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Obinna Ekezie, said: "We are excited to partner with Carlyle as we continue to grow and expand in Africa and beyond. Carlyle's global footprint and scale, as well as its extensive experience and network in the online travel sector will help us to further develop our offerings and broaden our customer base."

Managing Director of The Carlyle Group, Idris Mohammed, said: "Wakanow has experienced incredible growth since inception, disrupting the travel market and taking online and offline market share.

"We believe that this strong growth trajectory will continue as Wakanow benefits from an expanding middle class across the continent in addition to increasing Internet penetration and mobile connectivity, which is driving increased online traffic. We look forward to working with Wakanow's management team to help them deliver on their vision for growth and expansion."

Also speaking, Mayowa Ayodele, Chief Investment Officer, Platform Capital, one of Wakanow's lead investors, said: "We are happy to partner with Carlyle and look forward to working with them to strengthen Wakanow's market position, accelerate innovation, deepen its systems and processes to realise the vision of a world class online travel agency with African roots."

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