Singapore-based online fashion platform iFashion is looking to raise about $10 million in a listing exercise that has now been pushed to the end of this year, as the company is pursuing a few more acquisitions before it hits a stock exchange.
iFashion which is backed by internet company Fatfish Internet Group is now also weighing options to list the company in one of the European exchanges like London or Germany, the company’s co-founder and Fatfish Internet Group CEO Kin-Wai Lau told DEALSTREETASIA in an interaction last week.
“I think there is a lot of interest from Europe in terms of the Asian growth market. There are various reports that have said Southeast Asia is the region with the fastest growth for ecommerce segment in the world. So obviously, there is a lot of interest in the Asia-based internet companies,” Lau said.
The IPO is expected to value iFashion at $40-50 million in terms of market capital, he said.
Based on earlier reports, iFashion was looking to list in Singapore, Hong Kong or most likely Australia by May this year. Now, when asked about Australia as a listing option, Lau said “Australia may or may not happen.”
The company was founded by Lau and Douglas Gan and is currently backed by VCs and corporate investors that include Lau’s Fatfish Internet, Sovereign Capital, Rimu, Fashion DK Group and prominent corporate angel-investors Seow Kiat Wang and Tan Chow Boon.
The firm is likely to appoint a boutique investment bank for the IPO and is currently in talks with a few. There has, however, not been an appointment since the listing is still more than six months away.
Growth through M&As
“We see an opportunity to do a few more Mergers and Acquisitions before the IPO,” Lau told this portal indicating that there may be few more announcements coming in the recent months from iFashion.
iFashion previously acquired NOSE (that last week parted ways with the company) INVADE, Dressabelle and Megafash (the latest acquisition). These acquisitions were part of the firm’s effort to strengthen its portfolio and pave the way for listing.
In fact, in an earlier interaction with the portal iFashion CEO Jeremy Khoo had said that the company would not go for further acquisitions but buy more brands post-IPO and proceed with its plan for internal expansion of the current brands.
However, Lau said, “We believe M&A is one way to grow in the region as the market is fragmented and (there are) different cultures around the border. We actually encourage and actively build lot of M&A ventures.”
Leveraging on Southeast Asia’s growth
The amount raised from the IPO will be used to expand iFashion’s presence across the Southeast Asian region. “We are very Singapore-focused at the moment but we plan to go on the regional expansion side,” Lau said. In Southeast Asia, the bigger markets like Indonesia, Malaysia are expected to get a lot more attention from the company now.
Southeast Asia as a region has received ample attention from investors and companies in the digital arena. According to a report from Temasek and Google, the internet economy in the region could be worth a huge $200 billion annually within ten years. In fact, investors globally feel that for anyone exploring digital opportunities, Southeast Asia should figure somewhere in the top of the list now.
For iFashion, with regard to the regional expansion bid, the company would look at ecommerce firms within the Southeast Asia. “We are interested in looking at Indonesia and Malaysia. So we are very focussed in looking at ecommerce, lifestyle and fashion. That is the veryical that we are looking at,” he said.
ASX-listed Fatfish which is an internet company also calls itself a a venture builder. Lau said the firm has a co-entrepreneurship model where it works with entrepreneurs to accelerate growth through means and resources.