One Digital Media deal highlights rise of Bopa Moruo.

The ownership of digital signage company, One Digital Media, is changing hands in a private equity deal that features the company’s management, RMB Ventures and Bopa Moruo.

One Digital Media is described as South Africa’s largest provider of digital signage to retailers, corporate clients and restaurants. It is reported to be expanding into other African countries.

The deal may come to shine the spotlight on Bopa Moruo, a black owned private equity firm that seems to have carved close black economic empowerment (BEE) type relations with private equity giant and subsidiary of FirstRand, RMB Ventures.

The new kid on the block Bopa Moruo has been making noteworthy movements over the past 12 months or so alongside RMB Ventures. These include participation in the Autotrade management buyout which was also backed by RMB.

Bopa Moruo also lists Waco Africa as part of its portfolio. Waco Africa is described as an industrial services business operating in formwork, shoring and scaffolding equipment, industrial maintenance, relocatable and modular buildings, sanitation and hygiene solutions. Waco Africa has since 2012 featured private equity firms Ethos and RMB Ventures as investors.

As such the feature of Bopa Moruo in the One Digital Media deal represents some sort of BEE that must be closely watched. Bopa Moruo is also made interesting by the two individuals behind it. These are Tumi Tlhabanelo and Nthime Khoele who command an impressive private equity investment work experience. Both have served at Brait and other prominent private equity players.

Commenting on the One Digital Media deal Tlhabanelo said Bopa Moruo identifies potential investments as those with long-term prospects for profitability, growth and cash generation. “We liked One Digital Media because it operates in the growing market of digital media,” said Tlhabanelo.

“We believe we can work with management to achieve their long-term growth and profit objectives,” he said.

RMB Ventures said it looks for investment opportunities in companies with leading positions in their industries, attractive long-term prospects and committed management teams. “We believe that One Digital Media provides all the essential requirements we look for in our investments. It is the best company in the digital signage space in South Africa and has a passionate management team, while its long-term strategy of providing digital signage to clients in the rest of Africa is particularly attractive,” said RMB Ventures lead transactor Muhammed Moosa.

One Digital Media chief executive Andrew Ridl said “Retailers are continually having to adapt to a changing retail environment and new demands from consumers.

“Our products allow our customers to use a digital media platform across a number of outlets while being able to select from a variety of digital communication methods such as screens for instore promotions and deals, digital menu boards (for restaurants) and internet kiosks. The partnership with RMB Ventures and Bopa Moruo in our business will be an important contribution to our future growth.”

As well as its strong South African business, One Digital Media is expanding into other African countries. “Large corporates have seen what we have done with Woolworths, Spar, KFC, Wimpy, Spur and Cell C, for example, and are keen to explore similar options in countries outside of South Africa,” Ridl says. “Most recently, (Indian-based telecommunications company) Airtel has asked us to deliver a futuristic, interactive product to its stores in eight African countries while many of our current South African clients, such as Le Creuset, are expanding their networks into Africa and taking us with them.”


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