Standard Chartered has announced its full acquisition of the remaining shareholding in First Africa, a leading pan-African mergers and acquisitions (M&A) advisory firm.

Mike Rees, CEO of wholesale banking at Standard Chartered, comments: “The acquisition of First Africa, an extremely well regarded M&A advisory business, strengthens our ability to provide corporate advisory to clients in Africa and will further strengthen our leadership position in facilitating international investment in Africa from Asia and the Middle East.”

Standard Chartered Bank acquired an initial 25% stake in First Africa in October 2006. Raising its stake to 100% significantly enhances the bank’s capability to provide M&A and leveraged finance services to its international clients in African-related transactions.

Headquartered in South Africa, First Africa has been one of the leading M&A advisers in Africa over the past 10 years, with an impressive track record, particularly in the mining, telecommunications and financial services sectors. The specialist M&A team has been involved in some recent high-profile mergers, including advising Anglogold on its merger with Ghana’s Ashanti Goldfields, and South African mobile phone group MTN’s US$5.5bn acquisition of Kuwait-based Investcom.

Kofi Adjepong-Boateng, chief executive of First Africa says: “Standard Chartered’s unique global footprint in Africa, Asia and the Middle East will allow First Africa to broaden its specialist African expertise with a well-established and respected partner. Our M&A capabilities complement the bank’s existing corporate finance offering, providing new opportunities to our clients.”

Further leveraging the expertise of First Africa, Standard Chartered appointed Kofi Adjepong-Boateng as the head of its strategic client coverage group for Africa. He brings a wealth of experience to this position and is expected to play a key role in developing the bank’s relationships with some of its larger African clients.

The bank also announced that Stephen Priestley, formerly the managing director and head of investment banking for JP Morgan’s Sub-Saharan business, has agreed to join Standard Chartered as managing director, head of corporate advisory, Africa, and will be responsible for helping to drive the bank’s corporate advisory and financing business in Africa. Priestley will also succeed Adjepong-Boateng in heading up the bank’s M&A advisory team for Africa, which will primarily include the First Africa operation and will be appointed as CEO of First Africa. Priestley brings a wealth of corporate finance expertise, having worked with JP Morgan for over 10 years, where he originated and executed some of the largest and most complicated M&A, debt and equity transactions in Southern Africa.