iflix puts IPO on the back burner, eyes fresh funding from private investors

The iflix logo is seen on a retro television screen. Graphic: DealStreetAsia

Malaysia-based video streaming platform iflix is deferring a proposed initial public offering (IPO) in Australia as it seeks to raise fresh funding from private investors, according to multiple industry sources.

The company is understood to be seeking to raise around $50 million from its existing investors.

iflix was reported to be targeting a listing on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) before the end of 2019 and had appointed Macquarie Capital and UBS as joint lead managers. In preparation for the IPO, iflix had in September submitted its audited financial statement for fiscal 2018 to the Australian regulator, which showed its after-tax losses had ballooned to nearly $160 million.

“For legal reasons, we cannot comment publicly about any IPO. As far as funding goes, there is no specific additional round, but we are always talking to strategic partners,” the company said in response to DealStreetAsia queries on its IPO and fundraising.

The company had in July last year announced the close of an unspecified funding round led by Fidelity International. It is understood that its previously announced investments from content producers in Indonesia (MNC Group), Japan (Yoshimoto Kogyo) and South Korea (JTBC) were part of the same round.

According to its September filing with the Australian regulator, iflix had in 2019 raised $47.5 million through convertible loan notes and issued Series C preference shares worth $3 million and ordinary shares worth $15.5 million in lieu of content and marketing payments.

The filing also indicated that the firm’s cash reserves of $12.7 million were only enough to meet ongoing corporate and administrative expenses till 30 November 2019, subject to extension of terms with content suppliers. It is unclear how the company has been able to extend its operational runway.

The Catcha Group-backed company capped off 2019 with its co-founder Mark Britt announcing in December that he was stepping down from the CEO role after more than five years at the firm’s helm. Britt had said he will continue to be part of the startup as a full-time executive director and named Marc Barnett, the firm’s managing director, as the company’s next CEO.

Founded in 2014, iflix has raised over $360 million in funding to date from investors including US-based Hearst Communications, Singapore-based EDBI, Liberty Global, Zain, Sky Plc, and Los Angeles-based merchant bank Evolution Media Capital.

The startup now claims to be present in Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Brunei, the Maldives, Pakistan, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Nepal, and Bangladesh. In December 2018, it pulled out of Africa after the sale of its regional business to telecom firm Econet Global.

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.