Bancolombia Group Announces Acquisition of Controlling Interest in UFF Movil

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This acquisition is the first of its kind in the Americas, following a model similar to those done in Europe. Metropolitan Capital acted as the sole financial advisor for the transaction.

Putting together banking and mobile communications is where innovation really comes to life to pursue financial inclusion. -Carlos Yepes, CEO Bancolombia

Conglomerado Financiero Internacional Banagricola S.A. (Banagricola), a Panamanian subsidiary of Grupo Bancolombia announced today the acquisition of a 70% stake of UFF! Movil S.A.S (UFF), a Colombian virtual mobile operator.

UFF initiated operations in 2010 as the first mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) in Latin America, a business model that has been implemented in other regions since the end of the 1990s. The acquisition by a financial institution is the first of its kind in the Americas, following a model similar to that of Rabobank or Bankinter in Europe.

Grupo Bancolombia acquired the stake from recognized Colombian businessman, Carlos Julio Ardila, his family and Santiago Aldana, UFF’s CEO, among a few other private investors. The selling group retained the remaining 30% interest.

UFF has 272,000 users and a network of 1,100 points of sales and more than 100.000 points of service in supermarkets, chain stores and others.

With this acquisition, Bancolombia Group seeks to address the 15 million people in Colombia that are outside the financial system and provide to its current 7 million client base with innovative solutions in mobile banking and telecommunications.

Metropolitan Capital, an exclusive financial services boutique based in Bogota, acted as sole financial advisor for the transaction for the sellers. The company was created four years ago by a group of financial executives with international experience, provides services in M&A, Capital Markets, Private Banking and Asset Management. Metropolitan Capital works with a multitude of clients, including start-ups, governments and multinationals.

Bancolombia, founded in 1945, is the largest commercial bank in Colombia. It is a full-service financial institution, providing a range of services throughout Colombia, as well as other countries like Panama, El Salvador, the United States and Spain. Bancolombia acquired Banagricola in 2006 through its wholly owned subsidiary Bancolombia Panama.

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