By Ben Otto
Yoma Strategic Holdings Ltd. will pay $76.5 million to acquire Telenor ASA's 51% stake in Myanmar mobile financial services provider Wave Money.
Yoma Strategic said in a stock-exchange filing Wednesday that it would become the controlling shareholder of Wave Money, and it will fund the acquisition through internal resources and a consortium of investors.
Yoma Strategic acquired an initial 34% stake in Wave Money in 2018, running the company as a joint venture with Norway's Telenor. With the new transaction, Wave Money will become a subsidiary of Yoma Strategic.
Yoma Strategic said in May that Ant Financial Services Group, the operator of Alipay, would invest $73.5 million in Wave Money, becoming a substantial minority stakeholder.
Wave Money runs a network of more than 58,000 agents in urban and rural areas across Myanmar. Its transfer volume more than tripled on year in 2019 to about $4.3 billion, Yoma said.
"Wave Money continues to see sustained growth in its agent and digital platforms, with Wave Pay gaining strong traction during the Covid-19 pandemic through the acceleration in and adoption of cashless payment solutions," said Melvyn Pun, the company's chief executive officer. "The investment by Ant Group will further fuel Wave Money's growth trajectory and will help to create a greater value for our shareholders in the longer term."
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