Southeast Asian ride-hailing and financial services major Grab has bought out early investors in Indonesia’s e-wallet OVO to increase its stake to 90%, according to a regulatory filing.
Grab previously held a 39% stake in the Indonesian fintech company. It bought shares from conglomerate Lippo Group; online marketplace Tokopedia, which announced its merger with Grab rival Gojek earlier this year to form GoTo; and Tokyo Century Corporation.
The rest 10% of OVO is owned equally by PT Ide Teknologi Indonesia, a firm owned by founders of fintech startup Kudo, and PT Cakra Finansindo Investama. Kudo was acquired by Grab in 2019.
“We are pleased to complete the first part of a wider exercise to restructure our ownership,” an OVO spokesperson told DealStreetAsia.
“We welcome a greater commitment from Grab in OVO. We’re working in close consultation with the regulators to complete the ownership restructuring process, and are confident this will allow us to better serve the financial services needs of Indonesians.”
A Grab spokesperson declined to comment.
It is understood that Grab will sell a part of its stake in OVO to Indonesian entities to comply with local regulations. Non-bank payment service providers must be at least 15% owned by Indonesian entities and allocate at least 51% of shares with voting rights to local companies.
An OVO spokesperson said the company is currently in consultations with Bank Indonesia to make sure any restructuring is in line with the central bank’s regulation.
DealStreetAsia had previously reported e-commerce platform Tokopedia’s plans to divest its stake in OVO to Grab as part of its merger with Gojek. As Indonesian regulations require local firms to own stakes in one e-wallet at a time, the latest Grab-OVO transaction is expected to clear the way for the GoTo deal.
“This transaction has been planned for some time and will allow us to continue to focus on further deepening the market-leading strategy of GoPay,” a GoTo spokesperson said.
Besides the change in ownership, OVO recently named Jaygan Fu Ponnudurai as its CEO to replace Jason Thompson, who left to join Singapore-based blockchain firm Partior. Ponnudurai was previously the chief operating officer and chief commercial officer at OVO.