Pan-African private equity firm Helios completes deal to acquire UK's Crown Agents

Tope Lawani, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Helios Investment Partners

Helios, the pan-African investment firm, is set to deliver a postcolonial turnround with a deal for key divisions of Crown Agents — a company which was once a pillar of the British empire.

The deal for Crown Agents Bank and its sister asset management company, for an undisclosed sum, marks the first time an African-managed fund has won approval from regulators to acquire a UK financial institution. Helios is one of the largest investment firms focused on Africa, and among the few private equity groups founded and managed by Africans. Tope Lawani, its Nigerian co-founder, says the firm will retain the management of the two divisions — with combined assets of $2.6bn — and inject capital to build on their client relationships across many, mostly Commonwealth states. The acquisition was spurred in part by the exit from small frontier and emerging markets of bigger, global banks, Mr Lawani told the Financial Times, citing the recent decision by Barclays to sell its Africa division.

Read more: AVCA | Helios completes Crown Agents deal