Richard Came, one of the founding investors in Vumatel and Dark Fibre Africa, has sold his remaining stake in CIVH, the Remgro-controlled parent of the two businesses, marking the end of a highly successful investment.
Shaun Clark, CEO of Platform Investment Partners (PIP) — the professional investment house created by Came, who is also a co-founder of Dimension Data — said in an interview with TechCentral that CIVH had outgrown PIP’s ability to add meaningful value. Its remaining minority equity stake — which has been diluted significantly over the years — has now been repurchased by CIVH, ensuring the stake is shared by all other shareholders, including Remgro.
“The business has evolved to a point now where it’s less of a private entity and more akin to being a public entity,” Clark said of CIVH. “We took a decision a year ago to start extricating ourselves. Our exit is by no means an indictment on the business case. It’s a fantastic business, and it’s well run and will continue to do good things. But we have decided to focus elsewhere.”
Clark declined to share the value of the sale, citing confidentiality.
Came and PIP will continue to invest in telecoms ventures, Clark said. “We have a definite view of where telecoms is evolving to.”
Whereas CIVH is interested in “infrastructure-heavy” investments, including the planned wholesale open-access network (the Woan is still to be licensed by communications regulator Icasa), PIP’s focus is on “far earlier-stage, next-generation technologies”.
Myriad Capital, the largest investment entity inside PIP, will focus on these investments, which include both start-ups and more established players in the telecoms ecosystem. The focus is on next-generation networks, software-defined networks, software and digitisation, and next-generation distribution, including edge computing, Clark said. The anchor assets in Myriad Capital are currently Open Fibre and Reflex Solutions, a company previously owned by Jasco.
“Where we have the opportunity to acquire businesses that make sense to us and that are cash-flow accretive, we will do that. We find great people to work with and get behind them.”
PIP and Myriad, he said, want to invest in companies in the telecoms, technology and energy sectors that are looking to become household names — much like happened with Vumatel and Dark Fibre Africa.
A big portion of the proceeds from the sale of the CIVH stake will be used to fund new investments under Myriad Capital
PIP does not adopt a venture capital approach to investment and prefers to invest for the long term, Clark added.
“We want to build and hold onto things. We don’t have a traditional VC mindset at all. We might start with 2% (of the equity), and we want to invest right through the ‘J Curve’ and hold on as long as we possibly can but still have a good track record of monetising our investments and returning capital. We also tend to like earlier-stage, slightly more challenging business cases.”
A big portion of the proceeds from the sale of the CIVH stake will be used to fund new investments under Myriad Capital, he said. — (c) 2021 NewsCentral Media
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