Yoma to acquire controlling interest in Wave Money in $71.5 million deal

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) – A unit of Yoma Strategic will inked a deal to acquire Norwegian telecommunications giant Telenor Group’s 51 per cent stake in Digital Money Myanmar Limited, one of the country’s biggest mobile payment services provider, for US$53 million (S$71.5 million).

Yoma MFS Holdings (YMFS) has entered into a share purchase agreement to buy 510,00 ordinary shares and 17.9 million redeemable preference shares in Wave Money, Yoma said in a bourse filing on Monday (Jan 17).

YFMS is to be funded by a consortium of investors led by Yoma Strategic which remains subject to completion and final funding.

When the transaction is concluded, Yoma said it will become the largest and controlling shareholder of Wave Money.

The mainboard-listed Myanmar-based group had previously proposed to increase its existing shareholding and take a controlling interest in Wave Money via a US$76.5 million deal with Telenor in June 2020.

Yoma later informed shareholders that the long stop date of April 30, 2021, to complete the proposed acquisition had not been extended, but remained in discussion with Telenor to explore opportunities regarding Wave Money.

According to Yoma, Wave Money is expected “to grow substantially” given that digitalisation of the financial system is a key priority for Myanmar’s central bank, despite the “challenging business environment and economic slowdown” in the country. This was the basis for the new proposed deal, it said.

Yoma said it intends to restructure the holding of its interest in Wave Money, such that YMFS will hold the group’s existing 44 per cent interest in Wave Money.

It is also contemplating investing up to US$27.1 million in YMFS for an additional 26 per cent effective interest in Wave Money and a consortium of investors – as new shareholders of YMFS – would contribute the remaining Telenor consideration for the new proposed acquisition.

Upon completion of the new proposed stake purchase, YMFS will become the direct controlling shareholder of Wave Money holding a 90 per cent interest, including the 51 per cent stake from Telenor.

Yoma’s aggregate effective interest in Wave Money would be no less than 70 per cent, assuming that it acquires the additional 26 per cent interest in Wave Money, the company said.

In addition, the company granted one of the investors in the consortium the right to increase its effective interest in Wave Money by purchasing shares in YMFS equivalent to up to a 15 per cent effective interest in Wave Money subject to certain terms, without ceding effective control in Wave Money.

The long stop date for completion is 180 days after the date of the new sales and purchase agreement.

As at Monday, the shareholders of Wave Money are the Telenor group (51 per cent), Yoma’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Yoma Strategic Investments (44 per cent), and Yoma Bank (5 per cent).

Shares of Yoma were trading unchanged at 13 cents as at 9.10am on Monday, after the announcement.


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