Asia Digest: CLSA buys Japan’s Worldplus; Ayoconnect appoints new strategic advisor

Dumbbells and fitness equipment at a gym.

CLSA Capital Partners has acquired Japanese fitness club operator Worldplus, while Indonesia’s Ayoconnect has appointed Ilham Akbar Habibie as a strategic advisor.

CLSA acquires Japanese fitness club operator Worldplus

Private equity firm CLSA Capital Partners, through its Japan-dedicated Sunrise Capital III fund, acquired the 24X7 fitness club operator Worldplus Inc. for an undisclosed amount on August 28, the company said in a press statement.

Sunrise Capital III intends to streamline the company’s organisational structure and bolster corporate governance, the statement added. The fund was launched in end-2016 and made its final close at a hard cap of $400 million in May 2017.

Founded in 2017, Worldplus’s business has grown through a franchise model that provides members with “an attractive and reasonably-priced fitness environment”. Worldplus, which specialises in exercise machines, operates 125 clubs under the brand name World+ across Japan.

Indonesia’s Ayoconnect appoints new strategic advisor

Ayoconnect, an Indonesian open bill network, has appointed Ilham Akbar Habibie as a new strategic advisor, according to a press statement on Wednesday. Ilham Habibie is the son of former Indonesian President BJ Habibie.

Ilham Habibie is an entrepreneur and technical expert. Currently, he serves as president director of the private investment company PT ILTHABI Rekatama, and is the chairman of Indonesia’s sharia bank PT Bank Muamalat Indonesia tbk.

His appointment follows Ayoconnect’s $5 million pre-Series B funding from strategic global investors including BRI Ventures, Kakaku.com, Inc. and Brama One Ventures, in August. Existing investors Finch Capital, a global fintech specialist, and Amand Ventures also participated in the round. Ayoconnect has raised over $10 million to date. Other investors include Strive and AC Ventures.

Ayoconnect’s open bill network links bill providers, such as utilities and telcos, with consumer-facing platforms and financial institutions. Prominent bill categories include phone credits, electricity payment, and game vouchers. Ayoconnect claims to have processed over 40 million successful transactions to date.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.