Branson and Bono buy into Wilderness Safaris

Wilderness Holdings has announced two major shareholder changes – with the Tollmans and Jochen Zeitz disposing of their entire holdings in the company.

The Rise Fund, a social impact investment fund managed by TPG Growth purchased a 34% stake from Wine Investments Limited (a subsidiary of The Travel Corporation, owned by the Tollman family).

In addition, African Wildlife Holdings, an affiliate of FS Investors – a private investment entity based in the US, has purchased a 24% shareholding. These were acquired from Puma SE, Kering and Jochen Zeitz (owner of Segera Retreat in Kenya and founder of Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town).

Stakeholders in The Rise Fund include Bono and Richard Branson, amongst a host of other well-known philanthropists and activists. In a media release, The Rise Fund said this was its second investment in Africa.

Wilderness Holdings CEO, Keith Vincent, said: “We welcome our newest shareholder, The Rise Fund, and are proud to be standing shoulder to shoulder with such like-minded individuals. As a company proudly born and bred in Botswana 35 years ago, we are even more committed to our founding vision than ever before: to conserve and restore Africa’s wilderness and wildlife by creating life-changing journeys and inspiring positive action.”

“We are excited about our partnership with Wilderness Holdings, a great example of Botswana’s entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Bill McGlashan, Co-Founder and CEO of The Rise Fund and Founder and Managing Partner of TPG Growth. “This is a great opportunity to partner with an important Africa-grown company to help them expand their business while building on their long track-record and history of sustainability and environmental and social impact across the continent.”

“This investment marks a major milestone in the relationship we have built with Wilderness Holdings. Keith and his leadership team ranks as one of the very strongest in Africa, and Wilderness Holdings has the potential to create significant environmental and economic impact on the continent,” said Mike Stone, Chief Investment Officer of The Rise Fund. “The prospect of helping this business grow is a thrilling one for all of us at The Rise Fund, and looking ahead we see immense potential in partnering with entrepreneurs across Africa.”

“Wilderness has helped people around the world discover Africa in an environment dedicated to conservation and protection of endangered species,” said Yemi Lalude, Managing Partner at TPG in Africa. “We look forward to ushering in a new era of growth with the company and, in doing so, helping them expand their commitment to conservation.”

Earlier in 2018, The Rise Fund made its first investment in Africa, in Kenyan digital payments company Cellulant. Closing at $2.1 billion in commitments in less than a year, The Rise Fund, managed by TPG Growth, is recognised as the largest private impact fund ever raised. The Rise Fund’s investment strategy is to drive quantifiable impact outcomes aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), alongside competitive financial returns.

The Rise Fund will be represented in due course on Wilderness Holdings’ board by Yemi Lalude and Jide Olanrewaju.