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Unity Bank Denies Milost Pact, Distances Itself From Threats

Updated on
  • Milost says Unity pulled out of binding $1 Billion Deal
  • Milost says it received threats over its talks with Unity

The head office of Unity Bank in Abuja, Nigeria in 2015.

Photographer: George Osodi/Bloomberg

Unity Bank Plc, a Nigerian lender, denied entering a binding agreement with private-equity firm Milost Global Inc. over a potential $1 billion investment, saying talks were only preliminary and didn’t come with any commitments.

New York-based Milost this week said it terminated talks to provide debt and equity funding to Unity, saying it received threats that it will be run out of the country if the deal continues. The firm said a term sheet was signed in September and approved by the board of Unity, which needed the capital to strengthen its balance sheet and to expand. Milost said it would ultimately have acquired 60 percent in the Lagos-based bank.

“No definitive documentation governing the proposed financing was executed,” Unity said in a statement distributed by the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Thursday. It is not unusual that non-binding documents between parties are exchanged and the papers only suggested “terms and conditions on which Milost was planning to consider its possible participation in the capital funding of the bank.”

Milost Thursday stood by its view that the bank had breached an agreement. “They signed the term sheet and the commitment agreement,” Milost Chief Executive Officer Kim Freeman said by phone from New York. The commitment agreement is binding for both parties, he said.

Freeman called for Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission and the country’s bourse to investigate this matter.

Unity said it had nothing to do with the threats from the unidentified individual.

(Updates with Milost CEO comments in fourth and fifth paragraphs.)
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