PLDT rings in biggest PH tech deal ever | Inquirer Business
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PLDT rings in biggest PH tech deal ever

/ 05:00 AM October 05, 2018

Chinese technology giant Tencent Holdings, the developer of WeChat, and a United States-based fund will enter the digital innovations arm of PLDT Inc. in a move seen to accelerate the use of cashless payments in the Philippines.

In a joint statement, PLDT said Tencent and investment firm KKR would invest up to $175 million (P9.5 billion) in PLDT unit Voyager Innovations, which operates the mobile wallet PayMaya.

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The deal was billed as the largest single investment to date in a Philippine tech company.

Venture commitment

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“We can scale up and that’s what Tencent and KKR want to do,” PLDT chair and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan said at a briefing on Thursday. “All three of us are committed to making this a successful venture.”

The deal would be closed in the fourth quarter of this year, with Pangilinan expecting new investors to come on board.

Under the terms of the agreement, Voyager will issue new shares to Tencent and KKR with the new funds to be used for business expansion.

Majority shareholder

PLDT will remain the majority shareholder of Voyager.

Pangilinan said the investment could increase by $50 million to $225 million after talks with other investors, including the World Bank’s International Finance Corp., are sealed.

Once that milestone is hit, PLDT’s stake would fall below 50 percent, Pangilinan said, although PLDT would remain as Voyager’s largest investor.

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High mobile penetration and a relatively young population make the country an attractive market for digital payments and gaming platforms, where Tencent has a significant presence.

Orlando Vea, CEO of Voyager, said the partnership would help PayMaya reach about 20 million customers by 2020.

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TAGS: FinTech, News, PayMaya, payments, Philippines, PLDT, Telecommunications, Tencent Holdings, Voyager Innovations
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