Terence Lee, director-private equity, Southeast Asia, KKR

Global investment firm KKR and Chinese internet provider Tencent Holdings have agreed to buy into PLDT’s Voyager Innovations in a deal worth $175 million. The deal is expected to go through in the current quarter.

PLDT, that also plans to offload additional shares to other investors going ahead, will remain the majority stakeholder in Voyager despite having it reduced to below 50%, the Philippine-based telecom provider said in a statement. KKR and Tencent will hold “substantial” minority stake post the deal.

Voyager said that the new investment will help in expanding mobile payment services and internet access across the country. It will also aid in financial inclusion, the company said. Currently, Voyager’s platforms support digital services like PayMaya, PayMaya Business, Smart Padala, Lendr and freenet.

Manuel V. Pangilinan, chairman, president and chief executive officer, PLDT said, “Having global powerhouses such as KKR and Tencentas investors in Voyager Innovations demonstrates not only their confidence in the company’s ability to execute its vision, but also their confidence in the Philippine technology industry as a whole.”

Terence Lee, director-private equity, Southeast Asia, KKR said, “We are excited about Voyager Innovations and to further invest behind online payments leaders in emerging markets. Voyager Innovations provides critical digital and financial services to millions of Filipinos looking to join the digital economy for work and play. We look forward to leveraging our industry expertise and resources to help enhance the company’s mission of financial inclusion and accelerate its growth at a time when the digital economy is more important than ever.”

Orlando B Vea, president and chief executive officer, Voyager Innovations, said, “This is a watershed moment not only for Voyager Innovations but also for the Philippines. With this investment by KKR and Tencent, we will trigger an inflection point in digital adoption and financial inclusion in the country.”

by Parnika Sokhi