Editor’s take: The week that was – September 9-13

Visual from Columbia Asia's website

As we bid adieu to the week, here’s a quick recap of the stories we did.

Big deals this week

Malaysian conglomerate Hong Leong Group and global alternative asset firm TPG announced their plans to acquire Columbia Asia‘s Southeast Asia business. The transaction, estimated to be $1.2 billion, is expected to be closed by the end of the year.

The current deal does not take into account Columbia Asia’s hospitals in India. Sources tell us that private equity firm General Atlantic has evinced its interest in the India business. If talks fructify, Columbia Asia’s clinic in Kenya could also be part of the deal.

Other big-ticket transactions this week included Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte leading a consortium to invest $500 million in the retail business of Vietnamese behemoth Vingroup. The consortium acquired a minority stake in VCM Services and Trading Development Joint Stock Company, a unit of Vingroup that was recently established to oversee its supermarkets and convenience stores.

In India, Canadian pension fund CPPIB invested $115 million to pick up an 8 per cent stake in logistics unicorn Delhivery to broaden its exposure to the country’s logistics sector.

Deals corner

South Korea’s KB Kookmin Bank is learnt to have initiated talks with Indonesia’s MDI Ventures to forge a partnership. Sources tell us a tie-up could entail a co-GP arrangement wherein the pair can manage a fund together and scout for investment opportunities.

Thai fashion brand Pomelo raised $52 million in a Series C round from investors including retailer Central Group and Provident Growth Fund to fuel its expansion plans across Asia. We had in July reported the company’s bid to raise around $50 million in financing.

In Indonesia, Gobi Partners and co-investor Chinese app maker Cheetah Mobile backed a $24-million funding round for fintech startup SuperAtom, while beauty and wellness startup Base raised a seed funding round co-led by local venture capital firms East Ventures and Skystar Capital.

In Vietnam, venture debt provider Innoven Capital clocked its maiden deals by backing Tiki and UP Co-working. The deals came in after Innoven clinched a slew of similar deals in early-stage companies in other markets such as Indonesian logistics company Kargo and e-scooter sharing company Beam Mobility.

From unicorn land

Grab has reportedly initiated talks to merge Indonesian digital payments firm OVO, in which it owns a stake, with an Ant Financial-backed local peer. The deal, if it fructifies, will see the Singapore-based decacorn buy a majority interest in Ant-backed DANA from Indonesian media conglomerate Emtek and merge it with OVO, according to a Reuters report.

Gojek‘s venture capital arm, Go-Ventures, has led a $3-million financing for Indonesian fintech firm Pluang. The startup plans to use the fresh funding to launch US dollar savings and fixed return products, among others.

Traveloka‘s group operations president Henry Hendrawan told the Nikkei Asian Review in an interview that the unicorn believes a suite of lifestyle services launched this June will reduce its reliance on discounts and set it up for an IPO in “two to three years.”

Fundraising updates

Monk’s Hill Ventures is said to be mulling a ‘select fund’ for Southeast Asia to continue participating in its existing portfolio companies’ growth on a pro-rata basis. Discussions are understood to be at a preliminary stage.

Vertex Ventures has raised a $290 million growth fund to back high-growth tech firms, including its existing portfolio firms. The fund will pursue global opportunities, including in areas such as cybersecurity in Israel and consumer-related technology in Southeast Asia and China.

US pension fund New York State Common Retirement Fund disclosed a commitment of $185 million to Warburg Pincus‘s latest China-Southeast Asia fund, which closed at over $4.25 billion in June.

A Texas pension fund, meanwhile, committed $100 million to Baring Asia Private Equity Fund VII. Baring PE Asia is said to be raising up to $6 billion for its seventh Asia-focused fund.

New York-based alternative investment manager Angelo Gordon has raised $1.3 billion in equity commitments for its latest Asia real estate fund, AG Asia Realty Fund IV.

Are you ready for the Asia PE-VC Summit 2019?

Our flagship event is here. Well, almost. The Asia PE-VC Summit 2019 will be held Tuesday and Wednesday in Singapore and we couldn’t be more excited.

Top executives from the region’s leading investors (ARA Asset Management, Warburg Pincus, EQT Partners, Northstar Group, Creador, Adams Street Partners and Everstone, among others) and startups, including unicorns (Grab, Gojek, Traveloka, Tokopedia and OVO) will be speaking at the event.

You can expect an action-packed event with a lot of networking opportunities as nearly 700 executives will attend across the two days.

If you haven’t booked your ticket yet, use code ReaderExclusive while checking out to get a flat 30% discount on existing ticket prices. See you there!

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.