Bono-Inspired Investment Venture Explores Four African Deals

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An African-focused venture pulled together through the intervention of U2 lead singer Bono is exploring four transactions.

Buyout company TPG Capital formed a partnership with Satya Capital to invest in healthcare, consumer, financial services and information technology businesses on the continent, the companies said in a statement on Thursday. TPG will invest via TPG Growth, which specializes in emerging markets and has more than $7 billion in assets under management. Satya Capital, which provides capital to African businesses, was founded by Mo Ibrahim, a Sudanese-born billionaire philanthropist.

“This team is hitting the ground running,” Ibrahim said by phone from New York. “Satya has already been investing in Africa everywhere, which is why we are expecting to announce new deals in the next few weeks.”

TPG, founded in 1992 by David Bonderman and Jim Coulter, and Satya will pool an unspecified amount of existing capital for investments. Buyout firms, including Carlyle Group LP, are increasingly targeting Africa to tap a rising consumer market, with economic growth set to reach 4.5 percent this year, according to International Monetary Fund estimates.

“We have four investments in the pipeline at the moment and we are waiting to close,” Ibrahim said.

Good Governance

The Satya chairman, who in 2005 sold his mobile-phone network for $3.5 billion and started a foundation to promote honest and accountable government, was skeptical when Bono first mentioned that he wanted to introduce him to TPG Growth founder and managing partner Bill McGlashan.

“What the continent most needs right now is real support for those companies that can scale up,” McGlashan said by phone. The private equity fund wants to set itself apart by helping to create employment.

“Every year 20 million young Africans come to the job market,” Ibrahim said. “Where are those guys going to get jobs? Government cannot offer them jobs, it is the private sector which will to invest and create those jobs.”

(Updates with comments from Satya chairman in fifth paragraph.)
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