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Opinion

Abigail with attitude: A tale of two London flotations

Against this confusing backdrop, life goes on. A friend who is a senior banker in Asia reports that during a brief visit to London he arranged to meet one of his best clients, an Indian tycoon, at Claridge’s Hotel for tea. Suddenly, the wife of the tycoon jumped up and started embracing what appeared to be an elderly gentleman. "How are you?" she exclaimed. "What are you doing now? We’ve missed you."

The man was Bob Diamond, the former chief executive of Barclays Bank. Diamond, who was brutally ejected from the UK bank in the summer of 2012, has now started his own ‘blind vehicle’, Atlas Mara. Atlas Mara is a cash shell that floated on the London Stock Exchange in December 2013. Diamond has joined forces with Ashish Thakkar, the 32-year old head of Mara Group, a conglomerate with businesses in over 15 African countries. Arnold Ekpe, the former chief executive of Africa’s Ecobank, will chair the group.

Atlas Mara raised $325 million of initial capital from investors and, according to the prospectus, will focus on "acquiring a company or business in the financial services sector with all or a substantial portion of its operations in Africa".

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