Indonesian mobile operator Telkomsel, a subsidiary of state-owned telecommunications company Telkom Indonesia, is in advanced talks to inject significant capital into local ride-hailing decacorn Gojek, according to three people familiar with the development.
Telkomsel is seeking to finish what its parent company had sought to do earlier. Telkom Indonesia was set to invest in Gojek in 2018 but the deal fell through after failing to secure the backing of top ministerial figures at the time.
According to one of the sources, Telkom had planned to invest around $400 million in Gojek in 2018. The value of the current deal, the person said, will not be too far off.
“Gojek will benefit from a large number of Telkomsel subscribers and Telkomsel can take advantage of the Gojek ecosystem if the deal is realized,” another source said.
Telkomsel continues to seek opportunities for business development, its CEO Setyanto Hantoro said in an emailed statement in response to our query. “The development process is carried out organically or inorganically by developing services, especially those based on digital services, or developing business potential by collaborating with other companies,” he said.
Gojek, meanwhile, said it does not comment on market rumours.
Founded in 1995, Telkomsel is a joint venture between telco giants Telkom Indonesia and Singapore’s Singtel, with the former owning a 65 per cent stake in the company and the latter holding the rest.
The Jakarta-headquartered company is Indonesia’s largest telecom operator with 172 million customers as of 2018.
Last year, the company launched a $40-million VC fund in partnership with MDI Ventures and Singtel Innov8, which are the VC arms of its two stakeholders, Telkom Indonesia and Singtel, respectively.
Despite having a VC arm to invest in tech companies, it is understood that Telkomsel’s investment into Gojek will be made directly from the company’s balance sheet.
The investment from Telkomsel would provide a further boost to Gojek, which announced funding from US tech giants Facebook and Paypal just two months ago. The latest capital injection, which also saw existing backers Google and Tencent topping up, has brought the company’s Series F round to over $3 billion.
Gojek made the first close of its ongoing Series F round at $1 billion early last year and disclosed unspecified investments from Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation, Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance and payments major Visa in July 2019.
Once the deal is sealed, Telkom would add to a long list of over 30 investors that have backed Gojek. However, it would be one of the very few Indonesian companies to make it to Gojek’s cap table. Other local firms that have invested in Gojek include conglomerates Djarum and Astra.