Facebook CEO and one of the richest men in the world, Mark Zuckerberg and Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote among others have tried to make a foray into Kenyan economy, by acquiring businesses in the country without any fruitful result.
According to kenyans.co.ke, as business landscapes keep changing worldwide, investors and businessmen find themselves dipping their feet in waters they are not used to.
In the early aughts, when telecommunication hit East Africa, the region innovated and developed mobile money transfer and became a leader in the category.
Ever since, the economy, more so of Kenya, has skyrocketed attracting technological and business investors into the game.
Here are the top foreign tycoons who tried buying Kenyan companies but their deals got rejected.
1. Mark Zuckerberg
In 2016, Facebook founder and billionaire Mark Zuckerberg packed his bags in a surprise visit to Kenya, where part of his itinerary was reported to be in line with M-Pesa.
It was revealed that while in Kenya, he expressed his interest to learn about mobile money and helping roll out the service globally.
At around the same time, Zuckerberg was to meet the then Safaricom Chief Executive Officer, Bob Collymore, but he could not because the CEO was in a meeting.
Rumours then began swirling that the Facebook mogul was trying to acquire M-Pesa.
Collymore, however, refuted the claims and told the press that the rumours were not authentic and that if Facebook wanted a money sharing platform, they should build their own.
In November 2018, Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, set his eyes on acquiring a Kenyan company to add to his already diversified portfolio.
He was speaking at an interview with an international media house where he revealed that his company was in talks with a view of acquiring the firm.
“Dangote Cement is in talks about a potential acquisition of a company with operations in Kenya and Tanzania,” read the statement without revealing specifics.
At around the same time, reports emerged that he had inked a deal with China’s Sinoma International Engineering Company to set up a cement production company.
Nothing tangible has, however, ever emerged from the alleged deals.
3. Xeng Yang
In 2019, Chinese tycoon Xeng Yang was the talk of the town after he placed a bid valued at Ksh3 trillion (US$30 billion) aimed at acquiring the entire Nairobi City.
At the time, he was seeking to lease the city from the Kenyan government for a period of 5 years but President Uhuru Kenyatta turned down the bid.
Around the same time, Yang was deported from the country after he referred to Deputy President William Ruto as “an irredeemable mongoloid”.
In 2018, the billionaire also brushed African leaders the wrong way, when he claimed that he had enough money to feed the African Continent for 21 days in an interview with the African Daily.
4. Steven Bresky
In July 2018, a US-based company, Seaboard Corporation, led by Steven Bresky, unsuccessfully attempted to acquire Unga Group Limited.
The conglomerate was seeking to get approval from the company’s shareholders in order to acquire the entire 75 percent shares they held in the company.
At the time, the value of a share for the company was Ksh67.19 while Seaboard was offering Ksh40. Some of the shareholders were, however, hesitant to give up their shares at a reduced cost.
Bresky passed away in July 2020.