Robert Diamond.

Johannesburg - Robert Diamond’s Atlas Mara Co-Nvest agreed buy ABC Holdings and ADC African Development for as much as $265 million in the first acquisition by the investment firm of the former Barclays head.

BancABC offers financial services in Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, Atlas Mara, which trades in London, said in a statement late yesterday.

ADC, which trades in Frankfurt, owns 47.1 percent of BancABC and 9.1 percent of Union Bank of Nigeria, the company said.

“Our objective is to build Africa’s premier financial services group leveraging the access to capital, liquidity and funding that we at Atlas Mara can provide,” Diamond said in the statement.

“I am delighted that we will be merging with such high quality organisations as BancABC and ADC.”

Diamond, who quit as Barclays chief executive officer in July 2012 after the British bank was fined for manipulating benchmark interest rates, and Ugandan entrepreneur Ashish Thakkar raised $325 million in an initial public offering for Atlas Mara in December. The investment firm is looking for African financial-services companies that can help businesses manage currency and commodity risks.

Atlas Mara said it has agreed to pay $0.82 a share for BancABC and offered 1.25 of its own shares for each one of ADC’s. Investors with 34.1 percent of ADC’s stock have agreed to tender their shares, it said, adding that the acquisition will be funded from the proceeds of the IPO.

During his tenure as chief executive, Diamond sought to boost Barclays’s profitability by combining its African operations with those of Absa, the South African lender in which it acquired a majority stake in July 2005.

Diamond and Thakkar committed $20 million of their own money to the Atlas Mara venture. - Bloomberg News