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A wave of exits at Cars45
Happy new month people and it’s great to have gotten to 2066 subscribers! We’re still some way from 3k subscribers, so give us a push by sharing the newsletter - don’t forget to tell people why they should subscribe.
On July 9, I talked about Jiji’s acquisition of the used cars marketplace, Cars45. Although the merger was reported in the media, no one delved into the drama and intrigue that went down at Cars45 in 2020.
The backstory, which I covered here, is that Cars45's founders and top executives left to set up a new company, Autochek. If you can’t already tell from the name, AutoChek is pretty much in the same business as Cars45. A few things caught the eye about AutoChek: it raised $3.4m in funding, and its model was different from Cars45.
Back to the present: This isn’t a newsletter about business models; it’s about the changes happening at Cars45 since the merger in July 2021. In the month of the merger, here's what I said in my newsletter:
“As to personnel, no one also expects any big changes in the short term but Jiji, which runs a lean operation is unlikely to keep all of Cars45’s 358 employees in the long term. TL:DR: Expect some layoffs in the future.”
According to several sources close to the situation, there’s been a raft of departures since the July. In the week after the merger announcement, the entire marketing team of Cars45 resigned. Five members of the management team also resigned, with only six members of the team staying behind. A check on LinkedIn shows that a Vice President (Commercial), Marketing Manager, Junior Marketing Specialist, have left the company from July to September.
There were also layoffs, with reports that the Cars45 tech team was shown the door. One source told me that the tech team was laid off because Jiji plans to handle the technology aspect of its business from Ukraine, in the same way it handles its marketing. I reached out to Cars45 to confirm these developments, but they declined to comment. That may have something to do with the fact that the Company’s Vice President for People and Operations also left the company in August.
Beyond the departures, there’s not yet a clear sign of how acquiring Cars45 will impact Jiji’s business.
Away from that bit of news, it’s Nigeria’s independence day, and it’s hard to shake the feeling that there’s not much to celebrate. But Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari has a different view. While nothing should make anyone sit through a Buhari media broadcast, I found a text of his speech and it has some familiar ideas.
Me, trawling the interwebs, ready to be mad at any brand posting some happy nonsense to celebrate Nigeria’s independence
Remember when I said Nigerians are addicted to bad economic ideas? Looks like we’re going to be battling them for a long time. For instance, in responding to Nigeria’s record-high food inflation, here’s what the President said:
“Unfortunately, as our food production capacity has increased, food prices have been going up due to artificial shortages created by middlemen who have been buying and hoarding these essential commodities for profiteering.”
It gets even more interesting: “To address this, I am hereby directing the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to rehabilitate the National Food Reserve Agency and also work with security agencies.”
Before I get into all the reasons why this kind of thinking is shocking, here is Pa Buhari from 1984:
It’s pretty much the same thinking that’s going on at the Central Bank of Nigeria. Instead of addressing the real problems, we now have people at all levels of government who want to distract us from their failures. Here’s Premium Times explaining why food is now more expensive in Nigeria than at any other time in history:
Inflationary pressures have never abated since the Buhari administration announced a shutdown of Nigeria’s porous land borders with all neighbours in October 2019 in a move seeking to spur mass production of food as well as curb smuggling and associated corruption.
Attacks on farms, forex scarcity and naira devaluation have contributed to seeing local food demand outweighing production, causing food prices to steadily rise.”
But yeah, let’s blame the middlemen who somehow have storage capacity to hide the food they’re producing so that prices can go up. But I’m not dwelling too much on Buhari or Emefiele today. Especially not after one potential sponsor of the newsletter told me that we couldn’t move forward with a deal because some members of their team weren’t comfortable with my constant criticism of Emefiele.
Long will the criticism continue. May we not need to shut up about Nigeria’s dysfunction because of ad dollars. I’ll expand on this thought on Sunday, mostly because I read some super interesting things this week:
What I’ve been reading
Media companies do crazy things to show that they’ve got a lot of eyeballs/readers, which is why subscription journalism is a great option. When viewers/number of clicks become super important, it incentivizes media houses to lie, just like Ozy did in this explosive New York Times report.
Buhari’s independence speech was a disappointment - color me shocked - and Cheta Nwanze does a brilliant job of pointing out what the real issues are.
Turns out Okonjo-Iweala is frustrated by the lack of progress at the WTO, so much so that she’s floated the idea of resigning. Bloomberg does a fantastic job here.
The media industry has a high tolerance for bullshit, and this newsletter explains it better than I ever could.
Before you run off, I’ve got a lot of news!
What I’m doing this weekend:
I’m finally back to the good stuff that’s alcohol after a 40-day break so thank heavens for cold beer. So I’m spending this weekend going out with friends to celebrate my last week working at the Orange Co, if you know what I mean. Of course, I’ll give the now popular lie that I’m taking time to rest before deciding what to do next, but we all know I’ve already signed another contract. I’ll let you know what my new gig is on Sunday.
I almost forgot to mention that I turn 30 tomorrow and I’m excited. I only want one thing for my birthday - get Notadeepdive to 3k subscribers! If we can achieve that, that’ll be a good birthday.
Also, there’s this….
Help us do more
This edition of Notadeepdive — like other editions — contains rigorous journalism you won’t find anywhere else. Today’s newsletter also involved the help of some of the best editors I know, and several rewrites.
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Belated happy birthday to Tolu and congratulations on your new job. Tolu is a super-active member of our community!
It’s time to run along now. Have a good weekend people! I’m taking this Sunday off, so see you next week! Don’t forget to leave a comment.