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Johannesburg-based entrepreneur Tasoulla Hadjigeorgiou’s LottoStar secures investment from UK bookmaker

LottoStar was founded in 2014 as a family-led business.

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Johannesburg-based entrepreneur Tasoulla Hadjigeorgiou.

LottoStar, a South African online betting platform led by Johannesburg-based businesswoman Tasoulla Hadjigeorgiou, has received a significant investment from UK bookmaker Betfred as part of a move to expand operations in the local market and throughout the region.

The investment is part of a strategic partnership in which Betfred will acquire a majority stake in the Johannesburg-based online betting company for an undisclosed sum.

It comes nearly a year after the UK bookmaker made its first investment in the region with the acquisition of Sepels Sports Bet and the Betting World, both owned by Phumelela Leisure.

With the recent agreement, Betfred, which operates 1,500 high street betting shops in the UK and over 50 shops in South Africa, will now be able to deliver value across LottoStar’s 70 locations in South Africa.

The strategic partnership, which has been dubbed “transformative” for the South African sports betting market, will expand LottoStar’s online betting offering and position the company as a dominant player in the region.

Hadjigeorgiou, LottoStar founder and CEO, stated that the partnership with Betfred will not only expand its offerings and reach, but will also provide quality services to its customers.

“We are confident that this partnership will expand our offering and provide our customers with the highest quality services. Our partnership also paves the way for greater collaboration and expansion,” she said.

LottoStar was founded in 2014 by Hadjigeorgiou and her business partner – her husband – as a family-led business with an innovative model to offer an online fixed-money betting platform in South Africa.

It has grown into South Africa’s leading brand for fixed-odds numbers betting and Live Games since its inception more than eight years ago, thanks to high-profile marketing campaigns and ongoing efforts to better its communities through key corporate social responsibility initiatives across the country.

LottoStar took in a total of €1.7 billion ($2.06 billion) in bets in 2020, as it provided users with a variety of services such as lucrative payouts on games that ran multiple times a day and paid out winners almost instantly, as well as bets on the live outcomes of traditional casino games such as blackjack, poker, and roulette.

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Namibian tycoon Quinton van Rooyen’s Trustco wins round in court against JSE

Shares in the group rose 35.56 percent as a result.

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Quinton van Rooyen.

Trustco Group, an investment holding majority owned by Namibian businessman Quinton van Rooyen and his family, has won a round in court against the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

The Pretoria High Court ruled that the company may not be suspended from the JSE until the hearing of its review application in September.

The presiding judge, Nicoline Janse van Nieuwenhuizen, pre-dismissed every argument made against Trustco. The judge issued a decision, in which she ordered the JSE to be interdicted and restrained from suspending Trustco shares from trading on the local bourse.

“The grounds of review are all deserving of a proper hearing in due course, and I am satisfied that Trustco has asserted a prima facie right to fair and just administrative action,” she said in her decision.

In response to the news, shares in the group rose 35.56 percent to R0.61 ($0.0367), from a price of R0.45 ($0.0271) at the start of trading this morning.

The increase in Trustco’s share price pushed its market capitalization above R985 million ($60 million) and the value of van Rooyen’s 63.94-percent stake above R630 million ($38 million).

The court also prohibited the JSE from implementing or attempting to implement the decision that Trustco restate its annual financial statements for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2019, as well as the interim results for the six months ending Sept. 30, 2019.

The legal battle between Trustco and the JSE began on Nov. 11, 2020, when the exchange’s authorities claimed that the company had not met the listing requirements for its 2019 annual financial statements and 2020 interim results.

As part of the allegations, the JSE accused Trustco of violating international accounting standards by misrepresenting features of two loans and reclassifying land that it owns.

Trustco questioned the JSE’s authority to order corporations to amend their financial statements. It claimed that only boards have that authority and stated that all transactions had been “exactly accounted for, reported, and disclosed.”

Amid the legal battle between Trustco and the JSE, wary local bourse investors sold their stakes in the company, fearing a potential delisting of its shares, which caused the share price to crash to an all-time low in July before rebounding recently by double digits.

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Ugandan tycoon Charles Mbire to pocket $1.15-million interim dividend from MTN Uganda

Mbire owns a significant 3.98-percent stake in the Ugandan telecom outfit.

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Charles Mbire.

Ugandan multimillionaire businessman Charles Mbire is on track to receive an interim dividend of Ush4.48 billion ($1.155 million) from his stake in MTN Uganda after the telecom group reported a double-digit percent increase in earnings in the first half of 2022.

MTN Uganda is Uganda’s leading telecom service operator.

Mbire, the chairman of MTN Uganda and one of Uganda’s wealthiest businessmen, owns a significant 3.98-percent stake in the Ugandan telecom outfit, which operates as the fourth operating subsidiary of the South African multinational mobile telecom company, MTN Group.

The interim dividend will be paid electronically into his bank account at a later date from the group’s retained earnings of Ush902 billion ($232.4 million) at the end of its 2022 fiscal year. It is his first dividend from the telecom company since its shares were listed more than eight months ago.

The dividend payment follows a significant rise in the group’s earnings in the first half of 2022 despite a 4.9-percent decline in voice revenue, as it looks set to replicate its stellar performance in 2021.

As a result of the company’s strong financial performance, the board of directors approved the payment of an interim dividend of Ush5 ($0.00128) per share for the six months ending June 30, totaling Ush11.95 billion ($28.9 million), which is subject to withholding taxes.

According to data retrieved from the company’s earnings report for the first six months of 2022, its profit increased by 48.1 percent to Ush193.6 billion ($50.2 million) in the first half of 2022, compared to Ush130.7 billion ($33.7 million) in the first half of 2021.

The double-digit increase in profit can be attributed to a 10-percent surge in the company’s service revenue, which was driven by a significant increase in data and fintech revenue, which were more than sufficient to offset the 4.9-percent decline in voice revenue.

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Billionaire Robert Smith’s Vista to acquire Avalara business software for $8.4 billion

Smith directs Vista’s investment strategy.

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Robert Smith.

Avalara Inc., a leading tax compliance automation provider for businesses, has agreed to be bought by Vista Equity Partners for $8.4 billion.

Vista Equity Partners is a leading global investment firm led by America’s richest Black person, Robert Smith.

The transaction received unanimous approval from the Avalara board of directors and is expected to close in the second half of 2022, subject to customary closing conditions such as shareholder and regulatory approval.

Under the terms of the deal, Vista will acquire all outstanding shares of Avalara common stock for $93.50 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $8.4 billion, including Avalara’s net debt.

According to a source familiar with the situation, Vista has secured a total of $2.5 billion in loans from private lenders as part of the move to bring in institutional investors as co-investors.

The purchase price represents a 27-percent premium over the company’s closing share price on July 6, the last trading day prior to the announcement of the deal.

“For nearly two decades, Avalara has ambitiously pursued its vision of automating global compliance, making tax less taxing for businesses and governments around the world,” Avalara Co-Founder and CEO Scott McFarlane said.

“As a category leader, we believe that continuing to invest in innovation and experience is exciting for our customers, partners, and employees,” he said. “We are excited to work with Vista and will benefit from their enterprise software expertise as we build and improve our cloud compliance platform.”

After the conclusion of the deal, Avalara shares will no longer trade on the New York Stock Exchange. Avalara will become a private company managed by Vista.

Smith has an $8-billion stake in Vista and directs its investment strategy.

He also serves on its executive committee, the company’s governing and decision-making body for all matters affecting overall management and strategic direction. He has supervised more than 570 completed transactions, with a total transaction value of more than $265 billion.

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