Hong Kong fintech firm Hyphen Group eyes $1b SPAC deal with Provident: Report

Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

Hyphen Group, a Hong Kong-based financial technology (fintech) company backed by billionaire Richard Li, is reportedly in advanced talks to go public through a merger with Provident Acquisition Corp, a Southeast Asia-focused blank cheque company.

A Bloomberg report that quoted sources familiar with the matter said the deal could value the combined firm at about $1 billion and may include a private investment in public equity (PIPE) of about $100 million.

Negotiations, however, are still ongoing and there is still a possibility that it could be delayed or fall apart.

Formerly CompareAsiaGroup, Hyphen offers online financial comparison and education sites for consumers, including MoneyHero, SingSaver, MoneyGuru, and eKos_connect, which connects financial institutions with digital partners.

The firm, which counts more than 11 million users a month across its brands, has so far raised more than $10 million from investors, including Li’s investment manager Pacific Century Group, Alibaba Group, Goldman Sachs, International Finance Corporation, and London-based consumer giant Experian.

The SPAC, Provident AcquisitionCorp, raised $200 million in an IPO in the US by offering 20 million units at $10 each in January.

The company is led by executive chairman Winato Kartono, who is a founding partner of Provident Group and Provident Growth, and CEO, CFO, and director Michael Aw Soon Beng, who is a founding partner of Provident Growth and a former managing director at UBS.

In its filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Provident Acquisition said it intends to focus on consumption-focused companies with disruptive growth potential that have operations or prospective operations in Asia, with a particular focus on the technology sector in Southeast Asia.

Provident Growth, the SPAC’s sponsor, is a growth-stage fund focused on technology investments in Southeast Asia established in 2018. The firm has invested in 13 high-growth technology firms across various internet verticals since its inception.

Its unicorn technology investments include Indonesian ride-hailing giant Gojek, where it is one of the largest shareholders; online travel agency Traveloka; Indonesian B2C e-commerce giant JD.id; and financial technology major GoPay.

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.