UK firm releases Sh2.6 billion for AccessKenya deal

AccessKenya directors, Mr Jonathan Somen (right) and Mr David Somen. Photo/FILE
AccessKenya directors, Jonathan Somen (right) and David Somen. Photo/FILE  Nation Media Group

The Somen family has received nearly a billion shillings for their stake in AccessKenya as Dimension Data wired about Sh2.6 billion for the buyout of the Nairobi bourse listed Internet firm.

Jonathan Somen, the CEO of AccessKenya, told Business Daily that the UK firm released the money on September 6 to KCB, which was appointed as the paying bank.

The Internet service provider received an offer of Sh3.05 billion or Sh14 a share, but is settling payments for nearly 90 per cent of the shareholders who accepted the deal.

The Somen family will earn Sh984.5 million from the 70.32 million shares they hold with the firm’s chief executive pocketing Sh518 million from his 16.97 per cent stake.

Investors in the firm started receiving the cash last week, with KCB and stockbrokers expected to complete most of the payments in the next few days.


“Dimension has acquired AccessKenya. They paid the funds on September 6,” Mr Somen said in an e-mail response last week.

“All shareholders who accepted the offer should have received the funds.  If anyone has not received, they should contact their stockbroker or local branch of KCB.”

The Sh984.5 million payout will push the Somens’ earnings from share sales to Sh2 billion since bringing Accesskenya to the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) through an IPO in 2007.

The settlement by Dimension Data means the shares have effectively been withdrawn from the NSE through delisting in line with the UK firm’s quest to run the company as a private unit.

Mr Somen added that Dimension is still aiming to acquire all of AccessKenya’s shares and has extended the offer period to November 4.

“At the time the offer closed acceptances were at 89 per cent but shareholders have continued to accept since then.  Dimension Data will make further announcements as to acceptances at appropriate intervals,” Mr Somen said.

Dimension is targeting a 100 per cent control of the company but needs approval of shareholders owning at least 90 per cent stake to effect compulsory acquisition of the remaining shares.

Failure to hit the threshold means the dissenting shareholders risk remaining minority owners in a privately-held operation.

The payouts means AccessKenya is the first company to be de-listed this year, with auto dealer CMC Holdings expected to follow a similar path after its majority owners agreed to a buyout deal from Dubai-based firm Al Futtaim.

Little changes

Dimension’s offer to AccessKenya at Sh14 per share is Sh1 billion higher than AccessKenya’s market value of Sh2.08 billion on May 7 when it stopped trading to allow the conclusion of the deal.

The Sh14 price is, however, substantially lower than the stock’s peak price of Sh35 in 2008.   

Dimension has moved to firm its grip on AccessKenya following the acquisition, appointing three directors to the company’s expanded board on Tuesday.

Dimension disclosed that it will make little changes to the executive suite of AccessKenya and will instead influence strategy from the boardroom.