Editor’s take: The week that was — Aug 24-29

Headlines this week were dominated by the TikTok dance of suitors. Investors led by Centricus Asset Management, in partnership with US-based video and music-based social networking app Triller, are reportedly the latest bidders for TikTok’s assets.

Their offer follows those of Microsoft Corp, Walmart (which said it is looking to partner Microsoft), and Oracle Corp.

According to an executive order issued by US President Donald Trump earlier this month, TikTok needs to be sold by mid-September or be barred in the US. The buyer of the US operations needs to be an American business, according to the order. 

TikTok is already banned in India. Indeed, TikTok’s parent, Chinese tech company ByteDance, has already told the app’s engineers to prepare a Plan B, should operations in the US be shut down. And CEO Kevin Mayer quit this week after just two months in the hot seat. 

Other deals in the making

Our reporters in Indonesia got wind that mobile operator Telkomsel is in advanced negotiations to invest in ride-hailing and payments major Gojek.

Telkomsel is a subsidiary of state-owned telecommunications company Telkom Indonesia, which was said to have been planning to invest about $400 million into the ride-hailing company in 2018.

In another exclusive, we reported that Quadria Capital is close to selling its stake in Indonesian pharmaceuticals company Soho Global Health to private equity firm CVC Capital Partners.

Quadria picked up its stake in Soho through bonds that converted to more than 30 per cent interest, sources said.

The week saw us launch Data Vantage, a brand new twice-weekly newsletter that seeks to provide more insights into the region’s most important macro trends and deals. Sign up now to receive the newsletter in your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday.

Raising capital

Several funds in Asia are on the road, even as broader investor sentiment remains uncertain.

In our latest research and analytics report out this week, we found that Southeast Asia-focused funds found it harder to fundraise in the second quarter amid COVID-19 curbs on economic activity.

Among those raising funds is Everstone Capital, which is preparing for its fourth buyout fund that is expected to be in the range of $1 billion.

The India and Southeast-Asia focused private equity firm last raised $730 million for its third vehicle, which has been mostly deployed.

In Hong Kong, early-stage tech-focused venture capital firm Click Ventures is raising $50 million for a fourth fund and plans to expand its presence in Singapore.

Managing partner Carman Chan told DealStreetAsia that COVID-19 resulted in its anchor investor withdrawing from the fund. Still, Chan said, she is seeing strong interest from family offices, corporates and other investors globally.

Also raising capital is logistics giant GLP, which has launched new funds over the last few months worth $4.7 billion.

The global logistics provider this week announced a new Japan-focused real estate income fund, with $2.6 billion in assets under management at inception. The fund will be seeded with 11 newly-developed logistics assets in Greater Tokyo and Osaka.

In a less conventional space, US and Singapore-based agrifood tech investor AgFunder is raising a $30 million global impact fund, with a target to close by the end of this year.

The GROW Impact Fund will be one of the firm’s largest to-date and will invest in 60-70 seed to Series A startups globally operating in areas such as waste management, climate change and logistics.

Emerging opportunities

Indeed, agtech is a growing investment thesis for private investors, who have committed some $4.6 billion in the first half of the year to agriculture technology that includes farm robotics and agricultural biotech.

Elsewhere, Canadian pension plan OMERS sees significant scope for investment in the growing markets of Indonesia and India. In an interview with DealStreetAsia, Ralph Berg, the Global Head of Infrastructure at OMERS, noted key opportunities in telecommunications networks, renewable energy facilities, and road networks in these two markets.

OMERS, which handles the retirement benefits of municipal workers in the province of Ontario in Canada, currently holds three assets in the Asia Pacific, accounting for 8 per cent of its total portfolio.

Berg said that while OMERS was in no great hurry to expand its Asia Pacific portfolio, there are such attractive opportunities that, as soon as within five years, India itself could account for between five and 10 per cent of its portfolio.

Here’s to deals picking up soon.

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.