The Securities and Exchange Council is currently investigating the acquisition of 4.7 billion shares of FBN Holdings by a former Chairman of the bank, Oba Otudeko, The PUNCH has confirmed.
A source within the commission, who pleaded anonymity, confirmed to our correspondent that a probe of the contentious deal that which was published on the website of the Nigerian Exchange Limited of Friday, July 7 was currently being probed.
The source said, “I am aware the Commission is looking into the transaction. A report has been made already and forwarded to the management.”
Meanwhile, some capital market experts have said the acquisition of about 4.7 billion shares of FBN Holdings by Otudeko, followed due capital market stipulations.
They reacted to the recent twist in the case that made Ecobank to write a petition to FBN Holdings, requesting for the rejecting of Otudeko’s acquisition of about 14 per cent of the group’s shares which would make him the major shareholder.
Experts who spoke with The PUNCH said the best way the conflict between Eco Bank and Otudeko could be resolved would be through a mutually acceptable arbitration process.
The National Coordinator, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Boniface Okezie, while reacting to the turn of events said there was nothing from a legal point of view stopping Otudeko from investing in any company he wished to.
He said, “Otudeko invested his money where he wanted to invest it. Nobody can dictate to him where or how to invest his money.”
He also faulted Ecobank for objecting to the purchase of Honeywell Flour, insisting that the company was free to acquire any business entity it desired regardless of any existing conflicts.
According to him, Ecobank ought to have initiated proceedings to take over Honeywell Flour under receivership stipulations, rather than try to block the sale of the company to Flour Mills.
Also speaking, The Chairman Emeritus, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Sir Sunny Nwosu, described the capital market as a free market in which one could invest in any company he wished to.
He advised the involved parties to get back to the negotiation table and resolve the conflict through dialogue.
A corporate communications personnel at Flour Mills of Nigeria, Modupe Thani, could not be reached for comments as of the time of filing this report.