Leo Baxter, a pioneer of the South African IT industry, has sold his 45% stake in one of the country's largest technology groups, MB Technologies and has relinquished his position as non-executive chairman.
Baxter's shareholding has been sold to Investec Bank for an undisclosed sum. Royal Bafokeng Holdings, with its 55% stake in the group, remains MB Technologies' controlling shareholder.
The multi-billion rand group includes South Africa's biggest volume distributor Tarsus, as well as ACT, Ingram Micro SA, Printacom and ChannelWare.
Lucas Ndala, currently chief financial officer of RBH and currently a non-executive director of MBT, has been appointed as the group’s non-executive chairman. Investec will have board representation proportional to its newly-acquired 45% interest.
Baxter suffered a severe spinal cord injury after a tragic polo accident in May 2007. Since then, he has been undergoing significant medical rehabilitation which has resulted in him regaining some movement in both his arms.
MB Tech group CEO, Glenn Fullerton says Baxter is now focusing on the next step of his recovery and will be embarking on a series of ground breaking spinal cord operations abroad that are critical to his quest to overcome his paralysis.
"Leo has taken the decision to take the next step and will be part of the Miami Project whose mission is to cure paralysis," Fullerton says. "He is going over there to have stem cell treatment which is not without its risks. Leo is well aware of these risks but, as we all know, he has never been averse to taking certain risks.
"With that as the background, Leo didn't want to leave anything to chance [regarding the company] and that is why he has conducted this transaction with Investec," Fullerton adds. “We welcome Investec as a shareholder and believe that their presence on our board of directors will add strategic value and strengthen our long-term growth strategy.”
Baxter retains a limited economic interest post the transaction through a profit participation agreement. Fullerton says MBT will continue to benefit from Baxter’s knowledge of the IT industry as he remains on the board of directors in a non-executive capacity.