LONDON, May 9 (UPI) -- South African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel agreed Monday to allow Barclay's Bank to acquire a majority stake in South Africa's biggest retail lender, Absa.
Barclays, the United Kingdom's third largest bank, agreed to pay the Johannesburg-based Abas Group Ltd. shareholders 82.5 rand per share or $5.5 billion, the company said. The deal surpasses Barclay's original offer of 80.8 rand ($5.3 billion) a share when talks began in September.
"This transaction accelerates our strategy to internationalize Barclays earnings and increase exposure to selected high-growth, well run markets," said John Varley, group chief executive of Barclays.
Under the agreement, the U.K.-based bank will own 60 percent of Absa, making Barclays the largest foreign direct investment banker in South Africa. The bank received written approval from 63 percent of Abas stakeholders.