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Reference no. 807-023-1
Subject category: Entrepreneurship
Published by:
London Business School (2007)
15 pages
Data source:
Field research


This is part of a case series. At the end of January 1999, Aziz Mebarek and Karim Trad, partners at Tuninvest, one of the first private equity firms in Tunisia, were considering an opportunity to buy a majority share of an optical business. At Tuninvest's suggestion and with its support, the founder of the business, Mondher M'henni, wanted to grow his company, Visual Optical, by creating a chain of optical stores in Tunisia. After several months of negotiation with Trad, M'henni had eventually agreed to sell 80 per cent of his business to Tuninvest. The agreement was that M'henni would co-manage the company with Riadh Akrout, a manager brought in by Tuninvest, even though the collaboration between M'henni and the private equity firm was not yet working as smoothly as had been hoped. Trad and his team had been working on the deal for months, a deal for a company they thought would make an excellent addition to their growing portfolio of investments in Tunisia. However, given the less than smooth start to the relationship between Mondher M'henni and Tuninvest, there was some possibility that the founding entrepreneur might leave the business, leaving its management in Akrout and Trad's hands. 'Is this good news or bad?' wondered Trad, as he and Mebarek lingered over lunch at a sun-drenched restaurant overlooking the azure waters of the Mediterranean Sea. 'We promised Mondher M'henni a final answer this week', replied Mebarek. 'I guess we'd better decide. Shall we proceed with the deal or not?'


Venture capital; Africa; Middle East; Developing world; Optical industry; Retailing industry; Private equity; Emerging markets
20 employees
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