South Africa’s oldest and largest background screening company reverts to local ownership: Kroll Background Screening was recently bought from its American owners by AltX-listed Ideco Group, and will revert to its original name, Managed Integrity Evaluation (MIE).

Ideco previously held a 30% stake in the company.
Executive chairman Vhonani Mufamadi explains: “When this opportunity came up, we immediately decided to exercise our option to acquire the remainder of the shares. Kroll is a leading player in its field, is financially more than sound, and has excellent management, skills and systems. There are extensive synergies between the two companies, which in the first place led us to acquire a minority share in December 2007.”
Regarding the benefits of the acquisition, Mufamadi adds: “We confidently expect that, now that Kroll – or MIE as it will be called once more – is again wholly South African owned, there will be a considerable increase in business with private and public sector entities requiring that sensitive personal data remain in the local circuit. Of course, a strong performance by MIE would add significantly to the Ideco Group’s bottom line.”
MIE chief executive Ina van der Merwe welcomed the buyout: “Onshore ownership has many advantages, both with regard to market access and the possibilities to tap local sources of information.”
She is also keen to leverage the Ideco relationship to expand MIE’s presence in Africa: “Ideco already has operations in a number of African countries, which can open doors for us and reduce the expense – and often steep learning curve – associated with entering new markets.”
Mufamadi is particularly pleased that the purchase was financed by the National Empowerment Fund (NEF), “which identified MIE as a very efficient empowerment vehicle, and this transaction places the BEE owners at the top of the background screening industry”.
He emphasises that Ideco will move fast in this regard: ”Our very first empowerment move will be the replacement of the two American directors by South Africans.”
Both Mufamadi and Van der Merwe highlight that, for MIE, it is strictly business as usual. MIE’s highly prized National Qualifications Register (NQR), which lists the qualifications of the majority of tertiary graduates and diplomates in South Africa, remains fully operational.
Van der Merwe concludes: “It is important to note that MIE does not rely on any foreign technology. In fact, our locally-developed systems are of such quality that several of them were licensed to companies in the US and Europe.”