Greenberg advises on $325m Bob Diamond-backed Africa fund

Greenberg Traurig Maher has taken the lead role on the fund raising and initial public offering (IPO) of Atlas Mara, a cash shell founded by former Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond.

Atlas Mara – formed by companies affiliated to Diamond and the $1bn (£610m) Mara Group conglomerate head Ashish Thakkar – has so far raised $325m (£200m)with the intention of acquiring a company or business in the financial services sector in Africa.

In a prospectus filed yesterday (17 December), the company said it hoped to begin trading shares by the end of the week, as part of a public listing on the London Stock Exchange.

Both Thakkar and Diamond have injected $20m (£12.28m) each into the venture, having identified “significant gaps in the market today including the need for capital created by European financial institutions retreating to their home territories due to the sovereign debt crisis and the Basel III regulatory framework at a critical time for growth in Africa”.

Greenberg fielded a team led by New York corporate and securities chair Alan Annex and London shareholder James Mountain, alongside shareholder Andrew Caunt and associate Nick Quarrie. Shareholder is Greenberg’s equivalent of a partner.

Citigroup, which is acting as sole global coordinator and bookrunner, is being advised by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, though the firm declined to comment.

Diamond lost his job as chief executive of Barclays last year, following financial regulators’ vote of no confidence in his management of the bank in 2012.

He was later advised by Norton Rose Fulbright in relation to his position at the bank during the Libor rate-fixing scandal.