Nova Pioneer Tatu City Assets Approved for Sale by Competition Authority

January 18, 2024

The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) announced on Wednesday its approval of a significant real estate transaction involving Heri Holdings Limited.

The deal encompasses Heri Holdings’ acquisition of Nova Academies Tatu City Property Limited’s entire issued share capital for an undisclosed sum.

This acquisition marks a major shift in the ownership of the properties currently leased to and housing Nova Schools in Tatu City.

Nova Academies, initially established in South Africa and entering the Kenyan market in 2015, operates a total of nine facilities in South Africa and seven in Kenya.

In Kenya, these include Nova Pioneer Tatu City International, Nova Pioneer Athi River, Nova Pioneer Tatu City Primary, and several others in Tatu City, Athi River, and Eldoret.

However, the deal with Heri Holdings only involves the Nova Pioneer properties located within Tatu City.

Heri Holdings, with a history dating back to 1974, was founded by a group of prominent individuals, including politicians, businessmen, and civil servants from the Jomo Kenyatta era. Notable founders include Jeremiah Kiereini, former Attorney General Charles Njonjo, and Geoffrey Kariithi.

The company has evolved over the years, focusing on real estate and infrastructure asset investments and management.

According to the CAK, the transaction entails Heri Holdings taking over 100% of the issued share capital and loans of Nova Academies.

However, the deal’s specifics, notably its monetary value, were not disclosed by the CAK. Despite this, the regulator noted that the combined assets of the involved entities surpass Sh1 billion, necessitating regulatory approval for the transaction.

Given the substantial capital investment required for establishing schools meeting international standards, the value of this deal is presumed to run into billions.

Nova Academies will continue its operations in the Tatu City facilities as a tenant of Heri Holdings following the transaction’s conclusion.

The transaction encompasses only the school buildings, land, and related infrastructure, with no changes in the school’s programs, brand, student body, teachers, or other staff.

This acquisition by Heri Holdings is not the first attempt to buy Nova Academies.

In 2018, South African property developer Summit Real Estate Proprietary Limited proposed acquiring Nova Academies.

Despite receiving clearance from the CAK, Summit Real Estate withdrew from the deal for reasons not publicly disclosed.

Summit Real Estate, which has investments in education and healthcare sectors in South Africa, was exploring expansion into other African markets at the time.

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