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Report: Diamond could take Africa-focused Atlas Mara private

Former Barclays Plc CEO Bob Diamond is considering options for his sub-Saharan Africa-focused investment company that include going private and merging with another African financial institution, Bloomberg News reported Jan. 18, citing "people with knowledge of the plan."

Atlas Mara Ltd. has lost about 80% of its market value since listing more than three years ago, the newswire noted. The company focuses on investing in banks in sub-Saharan Africa, but has struggled in large part because of its stake in Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, which has left Atlas Mara exposed to souring debt and the fall in value of the Nigerian naira.

Should it opt to go private, Atlas Mara could seek an investor or private equity firm to support the move, one source said. A merger is also an option, sources added, although talks are at an early stage and no decision has been taken.