Nigerian billionaire businessman, Femi Otedola, has come down hard on the role played by Tony Elumelu in the recent fiasco involving Otedola’s stake in Transcorp Plc.
Otedola had been in the news for his entry into Transcorp Plc with a stake of 5.52%, a development which saw the shares of the conglomerate surging after staying price stagnant for years under the leadership of Tony Elumelu.
Otedola had to sell his shares after his takeover bid was rejected by Tony Elumelu.
The Cable is reporting that Otedola is pointing his fingers at Tony Elumelu for scuttling his noble goal of buying the conglomerate and unlocking shareholder value, which had been completely absent for years under the hold of Tony Elumelu and his proxies. Tony Elumelu is the Chairman of Transcorp Plc, Heirs Holdings and United Bank of Africa.
Otedola chronicled his history with Tony Elumelu and disclosed how in 2005 he gave Elumelu $20million to acquire United Bank of Africa (UBA) but later wanted to sell his shares when the price appreciated. However, Elumelu prevailed on him to hold on to the shares. He disclosed that he became chairman of Transcorp Hotel in 2007 with a holding of 5% of the shares, but then Elumelu went behind his back and started buying more shares without his knowledge.
Otedola further disclosed that in 2008 when he became bankrupt, Elumelu seized his shares in UBA and Africa Finance Corporation to service the interest on his loans.
He also disclosed that in 2012, Elumelu went behind him to put higher bid of $300million for Ughelli Power Station after he accidently revealed his plans to buy the station.
On the Transcorp issue, he said he wanted to buy the conglomerate for N250billion and take the market capitalization to N2Trillion from its present meagerly N40billion, but he was opposed by Elumelu and his proxies. This revelation puts him at cross variance with Elumelu who had earlier revealed that he welcomed Otedola’s investment in Transcorp Plc.
He is quoted as saying:
I saw an opportunity to unlock the company’s full potential and create value for everyone involved.
“It’s important for investors to understand that free entry and free exit are crucial to healthy markets. The scramble for shares after my acquisition is a testament to the value that Transcorp Plc can offer, and I hope the company continues to thrive under new leadership.
“My message to Transcorp Plc and its shareholders is this: I remain committed to the growth and success of Nigerian businesses, and I will always be looking for ways to create value for all stakeholders. Stakeholders are unfortunately always shortchanged by getting stipends while the owners and managers of the business live a jet set lifestyle, which is detrimental to the stakeholders. Thank you for the opportunity to engage in this exciting chapter of Transcorp’s history.”