The battle for control of First Bank of Nigeria Holdings Plc has intensified as Oba Otudeko’s Honeywell Group purchased 4,770,269,843 shares of the firm in a cross deal worth N87.8 billion. This acquisition, made at N19 per share, represents the largest volume of First Bank shares traded in a single day since 2012. Otudeko’s stake in the bank now stands at 14 percent of its outstanding market value.
In a disclosure of shareholding sent to FBN Holdings Plc, Honeywell Group Limited stated that its affiliate, Barbican Capital Limited, had acquired the aforementioned shares. FBN Holdings Plc acknowledged this acquisition in a letter and confirmed that Barbican Capital Limited now holds a 13.3 percent equity stake in the company.
Otudeko, the former chairman of First Bank, is swiftly making a comeback as the single largest shareholder of the bank. Previously, billionaire Femi Otedola held this position after a dispute with Hassan Odukale for control of the bank when Otudeko exited. Sources familiar with the matter suggest that Otudeko is using funds from the sale of Honeywell to repurchase First Bank shares.
With Otudeko now leading the battle for control with a 14 percent stake, Otedola drops to second place with a nine percent stake. Hassan Odukale and Mike Adenuga share third place with a seven percent stake each, while Saheed Arisekole holds a four percent stake. Honeywell Group’s Barbican Capital Limited, incorporated in March 2023, has significant control held by Otudeko’s children.
The 4,770,269,843 shares purchased by Honeywell Group were transferred from 26 different accounts, including Dogonyaro Investments Limited, Home Securities Limited, Skyview Estates Limited, and others. It is worth noting that Flour Mills acquired Honeywell Flour Mills Plc from Otudeko’s Honeywell Group last year for N82 billion.