Former Barclays boss Bob Diamond confirms bid talks for bank's Africa unit

Billy Bambrough
Follow Billy
The Barclays Scottish Open - Day Four
Bob Diamond's US-based Atlas Mara has lost a third of its share price value since it was listed in 2013 in London (Source: Getty)

Bob Diamond, the former Barclays chief executive who resigned from the bank in the wake of the Libor-rigging scandal, has taken another step towards seizing Barclays' Africa arm.

Atlas Mara, the London-listed investment company Diamond co-founded in 2013, today revealed it was in talks for Barclays Africa unit which was put up for sale last month due to rising regulatory pressures.

Barclays currently owns a 62 per cent stake in the unit of the Johannesburg listed division with a market capitalisation of $8.5bn (£5.8bn).

In a regulatory filing responding to media reports that Atlas Merchant Capital, Diamond's US-based investment vehicle, had teamed up with US private equity group Carlyle to bid for Barclays' African operations, it was confirmed a "consortium of investors" had entered into talks.

The members of the consortium were not disclosed however.

Atlas Mara is a joint venture between Atlas Merchant Capital in the US and an African conglomerate Mara Group, founded by Ashish Thakkar.

Atlas Mara's statement said:

Given the significant complexity and early stage of the discussions with the consortium, there can be no assurance that the transactions discussed above, including the potential combination, will be completed.

The investment vehicle also posted its results for 2015, reporting profit before tax of $19.2m compared to a loss before tax of $58m for the year before.

Lending and deposits both increased, up 12 per cent to $1.2bn and $1.4bn respectively.