There is no certainty that any agreement will be struck, Imperial said.
A deal, if completed, could value J&J at US$350 million to US$400 million, according to people familiar with the matter.
The Mozambican logistics company was bought by Carlyle Group and Investec Asset Management, now rebranded as Ninety One Plc in 2014 and J&J was valued at US$200 million at the time, the people said.
Since 2020, Carlyle’s interest has been managed by Alterra Capital Partners, a spin-out of the buyout giant, and Ninety One’s holding by Ethos Private Equity.
Representatives for Alterra, Carlyle and Ethos declined to comment when quizzed by Fin24, while a spokesperson for Ninety One referred calls to Ethos.
A purchase of Mozambique-based J&J would be one of Imperial’s largest to date, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, and would boost its presence on the continent just as it prepares to come under new ownership.
DP World said the deal demonstrated long-term confidence in the South African economy despite recent challenges.
“A deal, if completed, could value J&J at US$350 million to US$400 million”
The country has this month seen violent riots after the arrest of its former President Jacob Zuma.
Talks between Imperial and J&J were ongoing before the DP World announcement, the people said.
Imperial said in its statement that a purchase of J&J would require the approval of DP World.
Imperial started as a small motor dealership in 1940s Johannesburg and now employs more than 25,000 people around the world.
In June 2021, Imperial announced that through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Imperial Capital, that it had entered into a sale of shares agreement for the acquisition of 100 percent of the issued share capital of Deep Catch Namibia Holdings (Deep Catch) for an estimated purchase consideration of N$633 million (US$43.1 million), from an investment consortium led by Salt Capital.
Deep Catch is a diversified and vertically integrated business engaged in the wholesale, distribution and cold storage of perishable foods (mainly poultry, fish and dairy products) in Namibia and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.