PIC to probe Ayo purchase process

The Public Investment Corporation is looking into how Africa’s biggest money manager decided to spend R4.3bn to back last year’s initial public offering of IT company Ayo Technology Solutions.

The PIC, which manages South African state-worker pensions, paid R43 a share for a 29% stake, valuing Ayo at R14.8bn even though its assets were estimated at R292m.

That was at the top of an issue price range of R28 to R43, according to a November 7 note to shareholders. The stock has lost 19% since the December listing.

“The investment committee wants to ensure that all investment processes were followed,” Deon Botha, PIC’s head of corporate affairs, said on Tuesday.

Earlier, Johannesburg-based Business Day said the purchase wasn’t put to PIC’s board and some board members are now asking an investment committee to examine the deal, the newspaper said.

Ayo shares slumped 13% to R35 on the JSE in early afternoon trade on Tuesday. On April 23, the stock tumbled after reports that the Public Servants Association had questioned the deal.

Ayo is controlled by Iqbal Survé, the businessman who was forced to cancel a listing of media group Sagarmatha Technologies last month.

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