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.