Cape Town — Massmart has received written notice from US firm Wal-Mart of its firm intention to make an all cash offer to acquire a 51 percent stake in the SA retailer.

WalMartThe board said on recently it was “unanimous” in support of the proposed deal, which would see Wal-Mart pay R148 per ordinary share, but it still needed the support of a two-thirds majority of shareholders and the South African authorities.

“The Massmart board has considered the terms of the offer and the opinion of [bankers] Morgan Stanley, the independent advisor and is unanimous in its support for the proposed transaction. The total transaction is valued at approximately R17 billion for 51 percent of Massmart,” the retailer said in a statement.

It said offers on comparable terms were being extended to the beneficiaries of the employee share trust, the Thuthukani trust and the black scarce skills trust.

“These offers will be inter-conditional with the offer to ordinary shareholders.”

The board said the offer from Wal-Mart followed a rigorous due diligence process.

“There are still a number of important conditions that need to be fulfilled before the transaction can be implemented. These include amongst others two thirds majority shareholder support (75 percent) and approval from the South African competition authorities.”

Massmart CEO Grant Pattison said the offer was a sign of confidence in the local economy and could create new jobs.

“This is a milestone in Massmart’s history and is a vote of confidence not only in Massmart and our employees, but also in the strong growth potential of South Africa and the continent.

Source:                                 Image: Jared C. Benedict


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A recent study by global research firm, InMobi, has showed that 69 per cent of consumers in Africa were fast embracing the mobile advertising option.

According to the result of the study released recently, the strong acceptance of mobile advertisements in Africa, combined with scale and reach potential, pointed toward explosive market growth for mobile publishers.

InMobi, a large and fast-growing mobile advertisement network, announced African results from its landmark study,”A global consumer view of mobile advertising.”

InMobi which provides advertisers and publishers a display mobile advertising platform reaching 50 million Africans through nearly three billion ad impressions monthly, said as a committed player in Africa, it recognised the need to provide the mobile industry with a data-driven, distinctly African consumer perspective on the state of mobile advertising.

This, it added, included focus on Nigeria, where male acceptance of mobile advertising was the highest in the world at 76 per cent. A key factor making Nigeria, Africa‘s fastest growing mobile market.

The survey, done in partnership with digital marketing intelligence agency, ComScore, interviewed 2,500 consumers in South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria and discussed overall comfort with mobile ads, perceived benefits, willingness to have ads, and interest in major brands across four categories of automotive, travel, consumer electronics and entertainment.

The Vice-President, Global Research & Marketing, InMobi, Mr. James Lamberti, was quoted as saying that,”Africans are among the most progressive in the world, when it comes to mobile advertising and clearly ahead of consumers in Europe and the United States when it comes to adoption.”

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Interview of the Month, December 2010

On December 1st, 2010, posted in: Dec 2010 News, News by


Interview with the Lady behind successful M-PESA Mobile Money Transfer in Kenya…. Susie Lonie

M-PESA has changed the way money moves around in Kenya and has made a big difference to many people’s lives, offering them a safe, secure and low-cost way of transferring money, paying bills, receiving wages and running small businesses. At the time when M-PESA was still merely an idea, mobile commerce expert Susie Lonie was recruited to develop and manage the project on the ground in Kenya from pilot to commercial operation. Lonie was recently also the joint winner, together with Nick Hughes, in the Social and Economic Innovation category of The Economist’s Innovation Awards 2010. In an exclusive interview with How we made it in Africa, Lonie talks about how M-PESA’s success surpassed her own predictions and shares her thoughts about the future of mobile banking in Africa.

Susie Lonie

Susie Lonie

Since its official launch in 2007, M-PESA has become incredibly popular in Kenya; were you surprised by the product’s rapid growth?

From very early in the project I felt certain that we were onto something big with M-PESA. However, I would never have predicted anything like the growth we experienced. I remember a month after the Kenyan launch the Safaricom CEO called us to his office and said he wanted us to triple our year one target. We thought he was joking but in fact, we achieved this new target in the first eight months.

What were the major challenges of initially getting M-PESA off the ground?

We had too many challenges to mention, but the two that probably caused us the sleepless nights were: firstly, the lack of clarity regarding our legal position in offering a money transfer service in a market where M-PESA was not formally regulated was extremely difficult; until almost the last minute we feared that the regulator might prevent the launch.

Secondly, creating a network of local shops to act as agents for deposits and withdrawals was very challenging for an unproven service, particularly when the agents were required to put their hands in their pockets and deposit money into our bank account in return for e-money.

M-PESA has not been able to replicate its popularity in Kenya on the same scale in Tanzania, why is this?

It is true that the Tanzanian market has been slower to get started but this is due to a number of factors. The Kenyan market conditions were perfect for the M-PESA launch and we followed an expensive and ambitious “fast growth” strategy. In Tanzania, the local infrastructure is much more challenging, and for business reasons we pursued a less resource-hungry “slow burn” strategy from which we are starting to see very strong results but taking rather longer to achieve.

M-PESA was recently also launched in South Africa, a country where banks such as Absa and Standard Bank already have their own mobile money transfer services. Do you think M-PESA will achieve the same success in South Africa as it has in Kenya?

The South African market is very different with a well-developed banking infrastructure, but with many millions of unbanked citizens with just the same need for access to financial services as in east Africa. The banks’ mobile services still require the sender to have a bank account making them more about “rich-to-poor” transfers, and whilst the recipient can be sent money, they do not have an account with which they can transact.

The big difference with M-PESA is that anyone with a ten dollar mobile phone can participate in financial services, even if they have never set foot inside a bank. The opportunity in South Africa is at least as big as in Kenya and the more developed business infrastructure opens up many opportunities for M-PESA to be extended to allow the unbanked to participate in formal financial services.

What is next for mobile money services in Africa?

I expect to see an increasing level of integration between new types of financial services such as M-PESA and the more traditional financial services infrastructure.

Already in Kenya, M-PESA customers can have a savings account held in a bank but only access it via M-PESA, and never set foot in a banking hall. In Tanzania, customers have been able to top up their prepaid electricity through M-PESA without needing to travel to a licensed vendor of electricity vouchers for nearly two years.

This kind of integration, where M-PESA is an access channel to many kinds of payment and banking services, will continue to grow. One day in the not too distant future, products like M-PESA will be accepted by the banking community as just as obvious an extension of their portfolio as internet payments have become.

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