The Board of Diamond Bank Plc on 17 December 2018 announced that the bank had entered into an agreement for a merger with Access Bank Plc which is expected to be completed in the first half of 2019 subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals.

Upon completion, the merger of the two banks would create Africa’s largest retail bank by customers and one of the largest financial institutions in Nigeria.

Templars is pleased to have played a central role as legal counsel to Diamond Bank in the strategic review exercise that created the competitive process from which Access Bank emerged as preferred bidder. In its continuing role as transaction counsel, Templars are advising Diamond Bank on all relevant corporate and regulatory approvals as well as the implementation of the merger.

Diamond Bank is widely recognized as Nigeria’s fastest growing retail bank, and a leader in financial inclusion, gender diversity, SME financing and promotion. The bank has over 17 million customers across Nigeria, with over 90 percent of its transactions conducted on digital channels. Access Bank on the other hand has 10 million customers, and is widely recognized as a leader in corporate banking and one of the five largest banks in Nigeria.

Speaking at the signing of the merger agreement between the banks, Diamond Bank CEO, Uzoma Dozie and AccessBank CEO, Herbert Wigwe stressed the potential benefits to both institutions of a combination of Diamond Bank’s formidable digital and mobile-led retail franchise and Access Bank’s corporate banking strengths.

The Templars team on the transaction is led by Managing Partner, Oghogho Akpata, Banking and Finance Practice Head, Chike Obianwu and Banking and Finance Partner, Zelda Akindele.