PLDT acquires 10 percent stake in global platform Rocket Internet

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In a move that will help further their goals of providing easy online and mobile payment for their subscribers, PLDT has just announced their recent acquisition of a significant stake in the global internet platform Rocket. The deal, which goes to the tune of EUR333 Million, or more than PHP 19.6 BILLION, is proof of just how serious PLDT is in bringing online and mobile commerce to everyone in the country. The deal is set to combine Rocket’s worldwide presence, with PLDT’s world-class money expertise and resources.

Concurrent with the investment, PLDT and Rocket will jointly develop mobile and online payment technologies and services in emerging markets. The partnership will leverage PLDT’s experience and intellectual property in mobile payments and remittance platforms, together with Rocket’s global technology platform, to provide products and services for the “unbanked, uncarded and unconnected” population in emerging markets.

Napoleon L. Nazareno, President and CEO of PLDT, said: ”We are very excited to embark on this journey with Rocket. Our investment demonstrates our commitment to the global Internet market and our belief in the powerful synergies between e- Commerce and mobile payments, particularly in developing economies. The strategic partnership will allow us to leverage our combined strengths in developing online and mobile payment solutions in emerging markets. Rocket has developed a unique platform for establishing new Internet companies and a proven track record in successfully rolling out these businesses in fast growing markets. We expect the partnership to have a pronounced positive impact on our organization.”

Rocket is a global platform for the rapid creation and fast scaling of consumer business ouside of the US and China. With a workforce of over 20,000 employees over 100 countries, Filipinos might recognize their presence in the local marketplace through their work with Lazada and Zalora, on top of numerous other similar services in Latin America, India, the Middle East, Russia and other parts of Europe. All told, they are in a market of 5.4 billion people globally. Locally, this will help PLDT reach those with neither credit cards nor bank accounts, as well as those with limited access to the Internet, and let them take part in the conveniences of online and mobile transactions.

PLDT’s investment in Rocket will be in new shares issued by the company, of the same class and bearing the same rights as shares held by current investors. As part of the investment, PLDT will hold the right to appoint one member of Rocket’s nine person Supervisory Board. PLDT will fund the investment from available cash and new debt, with no significant impact on PLDT’s leverage ratios and funding costs. PLDT joins Investment AB Kinnevik and Access Industries as the third external investor in Rocket, in addition to Global Founders GmbH (formerly: European Founders Fund GmbH).

Manuel V. Pangilinan, Chairman of PLDT, commented: “This move is in line with PLDT’s strategy of providing relevant and value-enhancing services to its customers. This new partnership marks a major step forward in the pursuit of our Live Digital! Vision, bringing us even closer to our clients and enhancing PLDT’s innovation capabilities in the digital economy. We will continue to pursue further digital partnerships as one of our key strategic initiatives to drive growth and create value for our stakeholders, whilst leveraging on PLDT’s unique combination of assets.”