Absa, Barclays deal confirmed

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The single biggest foreign investment deal in the history of South Africa is finally a done deal. On Thursday 07 July the high court paved the way for renowned international bank, Barclays, to acquire a controlling stake in ABSA.

Barclays originally planed to take a 56.5 percent stake in the South African bank but was forced to settle for 50.1 percent.

Barclays pulled out of South Africa in the mid-1980s at the height of the anti-apartheid sanctions campaign against the country but returned to the country a few years ago.

In its decision to sanction a scheme of arrangement between ABSA and Barclays the High Court effectively dismissed an application by activist group Jubilee South Africa to block the deal.

Jubilee South Africa had cited Barclays as one of the respondents in their class action against companies that allegedly benefited from apartheid, for which it believes it should pay reparation damages.

However, the court found no sound or reasonable explanation to allow the activist group to intervene in the takeover bid.

At about R33-million this is the single biggest foreign investment ever in South Africa.

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