Bob Diamond's Atlas Merchant Capital searching for a new partner in Barclays Africa bid

Billy Bambrough
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Bob Diamond resigned as the chief executive of Barclays in the wake of the libor rigging scandal (Source: Getty)

Atlas Merchant Capital, an investment vehicle led by former Barclays boss Bob Diamond to create a pan-African bank giant, is searching for a new partner to table a bid for Barclays Africa, City A.M. understands.

It was yesterday revealed that private equity giant Carlyle had walked away from its consortium with Atlas in April this year.

Atlas is still interested in making a bid for Barclays Africa, a person familiar with the matter told City A.M.

Read more: Atlas Mara profits plunge but Bob's still sparkling

Atlas Merchant Capital – the US-based arm of Bob Diamond's banking investment vehicle, Atlas Mara – previously teamed up with US-based buyout group Carlyle to bid for Barclay's controlling stake in Barclays Africa unit.

However in May Barclays sold a 12 per cent chunk of its 62 per cent stake in its South African-listed unit via a placing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

At the time a source close to the deal said the listing didn't "make the slightest jot of difference" to plans for Atlas to acquire a controlling stake.

However, it's thought Barclays may move to list the remainder of the business after hitting repeated hurdles trying to offload the unit.

The sale will eventually happen one way or another.

In results posted at the beginning of March, chief executive Jes Staley confirmed plans to spin-off the business as part of "regulatory ring-fencing requirements".

Read more: Four ex-Barclays bankers sentenced for roles in Libor rate-rigging

Last month Atlas Mara said it was feeling positive about the rest of 2016, even though it reported a drastic drop in profits year-on-year.

The group blamed sliding African currencies and a poor economic backdrop for the fall in profits.

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