5/10/2018 – Chinese web giant Tencent and private equity firm KKR has picked up a substantial minority stake in Philippines tech company Voyager Innovations for a total price of US$175 million.
The substantial minority stake was purchased from Voyager’s parent company PLDT, which will remain the majority shareholder in the fintech startup when the deal closes in the fourth quarter.
The agreements signed separately by KKR and Tencent also contain provisions for Voyager to issue additional shares to other investors which could reduce PLDT’s ownership to less than 50 percent while still retaining it as the largest shareholder.
The deal also sees Tencent bringing its battle with Ant Financial to the Philippines. In 2017, Jack Ma’s investment arm Ant Financial has invested in Mynt, a financial venture from Globe Telecom which is a competitor to Voyager.
Besides, this marks the largest investment to date in a Philippines technology company, as well as being KKR’s first private equity investment in the Philippines.
Terence Lee, the Southeast Asia Director KKR comments on the deal, saying “We are excited about Voyager Innovations and to further invest behind online payments leaders in emerging markets. Voyager Innovations provides critical digital and financial services to millions of Filipinos looking to join the digital economy for work and play.”
Founded in 2013, Voyager Innovations provides a host of digital financial services to local consumers. It mainly develops fintech platforms, with digital wallet PayMaya which allows Filipinos to send money, shop, and pay bills online being its most recognizable product.
Apart from PayMaya, Voyager also operates a mobile-based remittance network under Smart Padala, digital lending platform Lendr. And free internet and rewards app Freenet.
Moving on, PLDT chairman, president, and CEO Manuel V. Panglinan is excited to welcome the two global powerhouses KKR and Tencent as investors in Voyager Innovations.
“It demonstrates not only their confidence in the company’s ability to execute its vision but also their confidence in the Philippine technology industry as a whole,” Pangilinan said.