Transaction Capital takes controlling stake in WBC

JSE-listed Transaction Capital plans to increase its shareholding in used car trader, WeBuyCars, in a transaction valued at an estimated R1.6 billion.

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The company proposes to acquire a further 25% of the shareholding in WeBuyCars to increase its total shareholding from a non-controlling 49.9% to a controlling 74.9% stake.

The remaining 25.1% of the shareholding in WeBuyCars is held by VDW Holdings, which is ultimately jointly controlled by the family trusts of the founding shareholders of WeBuyCars, Faan and Dirk van der Walt.

Transaction Capital concluded the initial transaction in terms of which it acquired a 49.9% shareholding in WeBuyCars in September 2020.

The R1.6 billion that will be paid for the additional 25% shareholding in WeBuyCars, together with the consideration for the initial transaction, equates to a total investment of R3.4 billion by Transaction Capital in WeBuyCars.

The latest proposed transaction is still subject to a number of regulatory approvals, including the approval of the competition authorities.

“Should the proposed transaction to acquire control of WeBuyCars obtain regulatory approval, the exceptional growth prospects of this business will accelerate and support a sustainably higher growth trajectory for Transaction Capital,” said Transaction Capital CEO David Hurwitz.

In a joint statement, Transaction Capital and WeBuyCars said private vehicles remain a necessity and an aspiration for many South Africans, given long travel distances and limited public transport options.

They added that as disposable incomes come under added strain and new vehicle prices rise, consumers will continue to trade down from new to used vehicles.

“Besides the constraints to affordability, the disruption of global vehicle production during the pandemic has led to stock shortages of certain new vehicles, driving demand for used vehicles up even further.

“The business [WeBuyCars] has aligned its operating model to the current environment, reaching new heights in terms of vehicles bought and sold, revenue and e-commerce penetration.

“Approximately 8 000 vehicles were bought and sold in March 2021, which is 45% above pre-COVID levels. Its medium-term target to increase the volume of vehicles traded to 10 000 vehicles a month remains on track,” they said.

Hurwitz added that in the medium term, WeBuyCars’ digital capabilities and credible e-commerce platform will support even higher growth.

In addition, WeBuyCars continues to expand its geographic footprint and plans to develop additional vehicle supermarkets and buying pods in select high-demand locations across South Africa to support growth, he said.

Commenting on Transaction Capital’s rationale for its acquisition of a controlling stake in WeBuyCars, Hurwitz said: “WeBuyCars’ performance since the initial investment in September 2020 supports Transaction Capital’s view that this proposed transaction provides a compelling opportunity to expedite the securing of a controlling interest in a business with exceptional growth prospects and a leading position in a highly defensive market segment.

“WeBuyCars’ operational resilience in a difficult economic environment demonstrates that it is structurally well positioned for growth,” he said.

WeBuyCars’ CEO Faan van der Walt said they have been impressed with the insights of the directors appointed by Transaction Capital to the WeBuyCars board, the manner in which Transaction Capital has engaged with leadership teams in its subsidiaries and the cultural fit between the two organisations.

“Further, we have seen the operations of SA Taxi and believe that Transaction Capital has the necessary expertise to advance WeBuyCars’ vision of offering credit- and insurance-related products to its customer base,” he said.

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