With Barclays' announcement earlier this week that it intends to exit its Africa business, speculation is already rife that a familiar face could step in where Barclays is stepping out.
Former Barclays CEO Bob Diamond has spent his time since leaving the bank building out Atlas Mara, a financial services holding company with a series of businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa. Given his familiarity with Barclays' Africa business, the move could make sense, and would be a giant leap for Atlas Mara in realising its ambitions of being a serious regional player.
Atlas Mara have declined to comment, but the question remains: will Diamond acquire a jewel in Barclays' crown?
Barclays notes that while it owns 62.3 percent of South Africa-based Barclays Africa Group Ltd. -- the biggest chunk of its Africa business -- it must account for it as though it owns the whole thing, without the benefit of actually doing so.The bank says the solution is to sell down the BAGL stake to 20 percent or less, at which point the accounting and regulatory treatment is more favorable.