Wilderness sells major stake to American equity investor – new vision to grow the group across Africa
Wilderness Safaris’ parent, Wilderness Holdings announced that it has sold a 34% equity stake to a global investment fund that considers social and environmental gains equally important to market-related financial returns.
Wilderness Holdings Ltd, dual-listed on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange and the Botswana Stock Exchange, said on Thursday that The Rise Fund, based in California, has acquired a significant stake in the ecotourism company for an undisclosed amount.
In Namibia, Wilderness Safaris is known for its very exclusive upmarket camps in the remote corner of the Skeleton Coast in the Kunene Region. Many of these camps can only be reached by aeroplane, a service provided by another of the group’s subsidiaries, Wilderness Air.
Wilderness Holdings, founded in Botswana in 1983, has since expanded its interests to establishments in Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya and Rwanda. The group supports two non-profit partners, Children in the Wilderness and the Wilderness Wildlife Trust, both promoting the benefits of ecotourism among the youth and local communities.
Chief Executive of Wilderness Holdings, Keith Vincent, said “Wilderness has always been dedicated to a purpose-driven approach based on our 4Cs sustainability ethos of Commerce, Community, Culture and Conservation. We welcome our newest shareholder, The Rise Fund, and are proud to be standing shoulder to shoulder with such like-minded individuals. We are [now] even more committed to our founding vision: to conserve and restore Africa’s wilderness and wildlife by creating life-changing journeys and inspiring positive action.”
In all the countries where it operates, Wilderness works closely with local community leaders and drives local economic growth by creating stable, well-paying jobs for members of those communities.
Chief Executive of The Rise Fund, Bill McGlashan said “This is a great opportunity to partner with an important Africa-grown company to help them expand their business while building on their long track-record and history of sustainability and environmental and social impact across the continent.”
“This investment marks a major milestone in the relationship we have built with Wilderness Holdings. Keith and his leadership team ranks as one of the very strongest in Africa, and Wilderness Holdings has the potential to create significant environmental and economic impact on the continent,” said Mike Stone, Chief Investment Officer of The Rise Fund.
The fund is managed by TPG Growth, a private investment firm with approximately US$13.5 billion in assets under management. The Wilderness investment is its second foray into Africa.
The fund will be represented on the Wilderness Holdings board by Yemi Lalude and Jide Olanrewaju.