The Competition Authority granted its unconditional approval regarding the proposed acquisition of 50 percent of the shares in Ba Isago University (Pty) Ltd by Wenge (Pty) Ltd.
“The Authority determined through the analysis of the facts of the merger, that the proposed transaction is not likely to result in the prevention or substantial lessening of competition, or endanger the continuity of the services offered in the markets under consideration. The market structure in the provision of private education services in Botswana will not be altered and as such this transaction does not raise any competition concerns,” stated the CA in a public notice posted last week.
The acquisition of Ba Isago, a citizen owned private institution, by Wenge is happening parallel to the acquirer’s name change to Embury (Pty) Ltd. According to the merger notice released about a month ago by the CA, Embury Botswana is a newly incorporated Botswana company, established for the purpose of this transaction. The notice informed further that Embury Botswana is indirectly controlled by a South African entity; PSG Group Ltd which already has a presence in the Botswana market, through its indirect shareholding in CA Sales and Distribution (Pty) Ltd.
The CA’s approval does not however exempt the two parties from seeking other statutory approvals related to the transaction which they must comply with under the Laws of Botswana.
This is not the first partnership that the University is entering into. At inception as a start-up enterprise, it entered into a joint venture agreement with Peo Holdings, a business loans advance company owned by De Beers and Debswana. Peo Holdings later exited on the basis of the University having arrived at full development to stand on its own. Since opening its doors in 2002 as a University-College, Ba Isago was given a full university status in 2015.
The Wenge transaction comes at a time when funding for tertiary education by government across both public and private institutions is at a crumpling stage. The declining government revenues which has a direct effect on the enrollment of students into the University is in part due to the prevailing slump in commodity prices. Perhaps the joint venture with Wenge could reduce the vulnerability of the University to government’s present funding challenges.