LONDON, June 13 Former Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond is set to fall short of his target to raise another $400 million for his African banking venture Atlas Mara, a person with knowledge of the situation said.
Diamond, who spearheaded the growth of Barclays' investment bank before being forced out as CEO in 2012 by UK regulators after the bank was fined for attempted rigging of Libor interest rates, plans to increase the war chest of his Atlas Mara vehicle to pursue more African acquisitions and grow the business faster.
But some investors have balked at the fundraising so soon after it raised $325 million in its initial public offering in December, mainly due to concern about the illiquid nature of Atlas Mara shares, the source said.
That is likely to see it fall short of the $400 million target, although the fundraising will not close until later this month, he said. The source said Diamond had received strong support from the current shareholder base.
The Financial Times, which first reported the fundraising shortfall, said other investors which had not participated in the current fundraising said Diamond had demonstrated his M&A ability but had yet to show he could make money running a bank in Africa.
Diamond has teamed up with Africa-based entrepreneur Ashish Thakkar to set up Atlas Mara, with the intention of building it into Africa's leading financial services firm and putting him in potential competition with Barclays, which has pinpointed Africa as one of its main areas to grow.
Atlas Mara bought BancABC in March to give it a platform in several countries including Botswana, Mozambique and Tanzania, and the source said its strategy and acquisition plans to broaden and deepen its African footprint was unaffected by the fundraising shortfall.
Atlas Mara shares were suspended after its purchase of BancABC was treated as a reverse takeover, and are expected to relist before the end of July. (Reporting by Steve Slater; Editing by Alexander Smith and Mark Potter)