Singapore Digest: GIC invests $202m in Canada’s WSP, Affirm to buy Canada’s PayBright

GIC, the sovereign wealth fund of Singapore

Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC is investing $202 million in WSP Global that is raising funds for its $1.14 billion takeover of Golder Associates; while Affirm, backed by GIC, has agreed to buy Canadian buy-now-pay-later firm PayBright.

GIC invests $202m in Canada’s WSP for Golder takeover

Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC is investing C$260 million ($202.09 million) in a private placement by Toronto-listed engineering services firm WSP Global that is raising funds for its $1.14-billion takeover of Enterra Holdings, the holding company of Golder Associates.

Golder provides engineering, environmental and design services in the mining, manufacturing, oil & gas and infrastructure industries.

“GIC is thrilled to partner with WSP, a true market leader with a strong management team and robust track record of creating value for all of its stakeholders,” Arjun Khullar, head of GIC’s integrated strategies group, said in the press release announcing the deal Thursday.

In late November, GIC joined the Asia Investor Group on Climate Change and the Climate Action 100+ initiative, both of which work to improve companies’ actions on greenhouse gas emissions and other climate change issues.

British Columbia Investment Management (BCI), a large Canadian institutional investor with an around C$170 billion portfolio, will also invest C$50 million in the private placement, WSP said in a press release Thursday.

Alexandre L’Heureux, president and CEO of WSP, said the tie-ups with GIC and BCI were an “important milestone” for his company’s acquisition strategy.

The Golder acquisition is in line with WSP’s strategic plan, he said.

“Together we will create the leading global environmental consulting firm with approximately 14,000 of our 54,000 professionals dedicated to accelerating the world’s green transition. The combination ideally positions WSP to capitalize on the rapidly growing ESG trends driving demand for environmental services and sustainable infrastructure development,” he said in the statement.

GIC-backed Affirm to buy Canada’s PayBright

Affirm, a consumer credit unicorn backed by Singapore wealth fund GIC Pte, has agreed to acquire PayBright, one of Canada’s top buy-now-pay-later providers, for about CAD340 million ($264 million), according to an announcement.

Founded in 2012, Affirm is led by Paypal co-founder Max Levchin. GIC anchored the firm’s $500 million funding round in September. The Singapore wealth fund is a return investor, having backed Affirm’s Series F funding in April 2019.

PayBright is one of Canada’s leading providers of installment payment plans for commerce and in-store purchases. It has over 7,000 domestic and international retailers that allow consumers to buy and pay later.

Affirm, on the other hand, offers installment loans to consumers at the point of sale. This gives consumers the flexibility to determine how long it will take to pay for something before actually buying the item.

“We are excited to combine with PayBright, creating the opportunity to expand our footprint across North America and scale our platform,” said Max Levchin, CEO and founder of Affirm.

The acquisition, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021, will be made through cash and equity consideration, Affirm said. The deal gives the two firms larger and more diverse merchant networks across the US and Canada.

“As part of a larger, multinational organisation, we can help even more merchants attract new customers and provide a greater number of consumers with more control and flexibility in their purchasing decisions,” said Wayne Pommen, President and CEO of PayBright.

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.