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DealStreetAsia

Malaysian fintech company Merchantrade buys Telenor unit

Deal makes digital money service country's largest in remittance business

Merchantrade's purchase of Valyou increases its market share in cross-border remittance services, which are mainly used by migrant workers.   © Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR -- Malaysian digital money service Merchantrade Asia has completed its acquisition of fintech company Valyou from the Norwegian telecom major Telenor Group, following competitive bidding.

Merchantrade has obtained all required regulatory approvals for the acquisition, the company said in a statement last week. It did not disclose the value of the deal.

"Following the completion of the acquisition, the businesses, operations, and staff force of Valyou will be merged with Merchantrade, and they will operate as a single entity by end-2020," Merchantrade managing director Ramasamy K Veeran said.

Valyou is a mobile fintech player, a cross-border digital remittance service provider and an e-money issuer that serves a customer base of over 1 million people. It has online and app-based digital channels and a physical network comprising 22 branches, 20 agents, and 1,200 cash-in-cash-out merchants, according to the statement.

The acquisition will give Merchantrade a combined annual remittance turnover of more than 11 billion ringgit ($2.67 billion), based on 2019 figures, which includes domestic outbound and international aggregator transactions. It will bring exponential growth in Merchantrade's digital business, the company said.

With a combined staff of more than 1,200 and a network of over 1,700 contact points composed of branches, agent locations and CICO merchants, the acquisition will make Merchantrade Malaysia's largest money services business, with a customer base of over 3 million people.

The acquisition will also consolidate and significantly increase Merchantrade's share of Malaysia's large migrant-worker customer base. Migrant workers are major users of cross-border remittance services, Ramasamy said.

"We currently work with AXA and MCIS to offer affordable microinsurance products. The acquisition of Valyou will further strengthen and expand our digital channel, and present us with new opportunities to partner with more financial services providers, and set the stage for us to go regional," he added.

Merchantrade in July, further consolidated its position in the Singapore cross-border remittance market by purchasing an additional 21% stake in KLIQ, a fully-digital, cross-border remittance service.

Merchantrade's shareholders include Celcom Axiata and Sumitomo Corporation Japan, according to its website.

DealStreetAsia is a financial news site based in Singapore that focuses on private equity, venture capital and corporate investment activity in Asia, especially Southeast Asia, India and Greater China. Nikkei owns a majority stake in the company.

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