UAE-Israeli consortium in merger talks with Bahrain’s BFC Group

By Amirtha P S, Trainee Reporter
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UAE Exchange
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The UAE-Israeli consortium that acquired UAE Exchange is in advanced talks with Bahrain-based Foreign exchange firm BFC Group Holdings over a potential merger that would create a regional financial services powerhouse.

Israel’s Prism Group and Abu Dhabi-based Royal Strategic Partners formed a Consortium in December 2020 to buy the assets of troubled Finablr, which has a presence in 170 countries and includes the UAE Exchange, Unimoni and Xpress Money brands and BFC Group’s products including BFC Forex and BFC Payments.

According to the statement of the consortium, the negotiations with BFC are at an advanced stage and the transaction is expected to be finalized by the second quarter of 2021. Once completed successfully the deal would lead to the emergence of the largest remittance services and currency exchange group in the MENA region, with a direct presence in all six GCC countries. The deal will be subject to regulatory approval in India, Bahrain and Kuwait.

The proposed deal highlights the consortium’s ambition to become a regional player within the payments and currency exchange space. It would combine two of the largest and most well-established remittance-service companies in the region and will invest in a digital transformation plan that will revolutionize the way payments are made by making it easier and faster to make payments.

“We are at the start of a new era in the financial services industry in the Middle East and the combined group will be well-placed to play a leading role in the transformation of the sector. We plan to leverage new technology to become the first truly omnichannel financial services company in the region,” said Prism Group CEO Amir Nagammy.

Ebrahim Nonoo
Ebrahim Nonoo
MD & CEO – BFC

“Our discussions with the Consortium are well-advanced and I am excited by the opportunities a merger would create. Our combined retail network will be the largest in the Gulf and the Consortium has the expertise, experience and vision needed to build a 21st-century payments infrastructure that will benefit millions of customers.”

The acquisition procedures of Finablr assets are continuing rapidly, in December, the consortium appointed independent investment bank Moelis & Co to restructure the company’s debt. Earlier this month, it hired leading US financial compliance advisor Matrix to overhaul its money-laundering policies and compliance procedures.

Also Read: Bahrain’s Investcorp acquires leading US tech firm KSM Consulting

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