Business

The Kantar Insider Trading Deal That Brought Down Bharat Thakrar

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Reports reaching the editor of this site have confirmed that Suspended ScanGroup chief executive Bharat Thakrar engaged in insider trading, as confirmed by an investigation carried out by the Capital Market Authority.

Further reports by our insider have confirmed that Scangroup, might have entered into a secret agreement with CMA in order not to charge Bharat Thakrar with the crime, something that raises eyebrows.

In 2019, various Kenyan media groups announced that Marketing services firm ScanGroup was set to sell two of its subsidiaries for more than Sh2.4 billion in a deal that was triggered by a related transaction involving its London-based parent company WPP Plc.

WPP was later to announce that it would sell a 60 per cent stake in its global data research firm Kantar to Boston-based private equity firm Bain Capital for $4 billion (Sh416 billion) in cash.

The deal also committed the Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed firm to sell its stakes in the Kantar affiliates it owns in Africa.

In May 2020, Scangroup announced that they would pay a special dividend of Sh4.7 per share or an aggregate of Sh2 billion in late 2020 using proceeds from the sale of its 60 per cent stake in Kantar Africa.

It is the Kantar deal that Bharat Thakrar and one non-executive director called Pratulm Shah have been cornered after they did insider trading, and one of the major reasons Bharat Thakrar had to go. Mr. Pratul Shah was appointed a Director of the Company on 26 July 2018, according to the Scangroup website.

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Insider trading is very illegal, and it is interesting to note that one of the boy’s club member, Stock dealer Aly-Khan Satchu was fined and charged with insider trading in the Sh26 billion KenolKobil takeover by French company Rubis.

In 2013, the then Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury, Henry K. Rotich informed the Budget and Appropriations Committee of the National Assembly that insider trading and market manipulation were a threat to the growth of Kenya’s capital market.

According to the Capital Markets (Amendment) Act, 2013, insider trading involves encouraging another person, whether or not that other person knows it, to deal in securities or their derivatives which are price-affected securities in relation to the information the insider possesses. Further, the person must know or have reasonable cause to believe that the trading would take place. It also includes disclosing the information, otherwise than in the proper performance of the functions of his employment, office or profession, to another person.

The firing of Thakrar has seen their shares lose Value as eyes now turn to the Capital Markets Authority, which actually approved the Kantar sale!


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