SGX-listed Yoma Strategic Holdings announced that it will acquire 34 per cent stake in Digital Money Myanmar Co Ltd, the operator of leading mobile money brand Wave Money from affiliate firm First Myanmar Investment Co Ltd, for $19.4 million, a press release stated.
Wave Money is a financial service platform targeting the unbanked population in Myanmar. It is the first company to be regulated under the Mobile Financial Services Regulation and to secure a licence from the Central Bank of Myanmar.
First Myanmar Investment Co Ltd, a sister company of Yoma Strategic Holdings, is jointly chaired by Serge Pun. The deal values Wave Money at $57 million.
Post acquisition, Wave Money will be owned by Telenor (51 per cent stake), Yoma Strategic (34 per cent) while FMI and Yoma Bank will hold 10 per cent and 5 per cent respectively.
Melvyn Pun, CEO, Yoma Strategic, said, it is a right time (for the acquisition) as Wave Money is coming out of its incubation phase.
Yoma sees financial services as its “fourth core pillar” alongside real estate, consumer, automotive & heavy equipment. “We aim to push innovative mobile financial services, including payment and credit extensions, to drive efficiency in the sector. Wave Money has an excellent head start with its broad reach across the country, and is a platform that we will leverage as we develop our offering in the sector,” said Serge Pun, executive chairman of Yoma Strategic.
During a conversation with DEALSTREETASIA in August 2017, Brad Jones, chief executive officer, Wave Money, said, the firm was expanding to untouched markets around Myanmar, counting in digital payments as an option to be executed in 2019.
To date, Wave Money has established over 20,000 agents across Myanmar. By August last year, Wave Money had an agent network in 255 townships in Myanmar, almost reaching the entire 330 townships in Myanmar. The platform has got a customer base of around 1.3 million.
According to Telenor, the total mobile penetration in Myanmar is at 105% with smartphones representing 80% of the mobile phones sold in the country. Also, Myanmar leads ASEAN in 3G/4G rollouts with 90% of the population living within range of mobile broadband.
Ooredoo, the other mobile operator in the country, also launched its mobile wallet, M-Pitesan, in September 2017, focusing mainly on nationwide money transfer and bill payment services.