Farnsworth Group to pay $125m for control of TikTok rival Lomotif in SG

Photo by Kit Suman on Unsplash

A group of investors, including former MoviePass Chairman Ted Farnsworth, who agreed to buy an 80% controlling stake in the Singapore video-sharing service Lomotif will pay about $125 million in the deal, according to people familiar with the matter.

The agreement with Zash Global Media and Entertainment Corp., announced this week without any disclosure of financial terms, marks one of the biggest exits by a tech startup in Singapore in recent years. With the acquisition of Lomotif, the financier behind once-popular subscription service MoviePass is now trying to disrupt the online video-sharing market dominated by the likes of ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok and Kuaishou Technology.

Zash is seeking to build Lomotif into a global challenger to its much bigger China-based competitors in the fast-growing video-sharing business. The acquisition is set to be completed concurrently with Zash going public in the U.S. through a deal with Vinco Ventures Inc., announced last month.

Representatives of Zash and Lomotif did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Lomotif founder Paul Yang will continue to lead the service upon completion of the takeover. The platform has more than 300 million monthly video views, and has increased its community more than fivefold in the past three years.

Yang started Lomotif in 2014 in Singapore’s Block 71 building where a cluster of scrappy upstarts work to take advantage of cheap rent. Yang and his co-founders developed the mobile app as a simple project to create videos quickly. But it started getting traction among hip hop fans in the U.S. So with $33,000 he raised in a seed funding round, Yang moved to the U.S. to learn about the users. Later, Lomotif became especially popular among music fans in Brazil.

​MoviePass, which once let U.S. moviegoers see a different film in theaters every day for just $10 a month, imploded two years ago after it struggled to make a profit and alienated customers by frequently changing its service terms.

Bloomberg

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. 
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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.