On Aug. 7, 2014, one of the leading telecom operators in the Philippines – PLDT (Philippine Long Distance Telephone) – announced that it had entered into a global strategic partnership with Rocket Internet. The collaboration is designed to drive the development of online and mobile payment solutions in emerging markets.
”We are very excited to embark on this journey with Rocket,” stated Napoleon L. Nazareno, president and CEO of PLDT, in a press release. “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.”
- PLDT will pay €333 Mn for a 10 percent stake in Rocket.
- The collaboration will see PLDT and Rocket jointly develop mobile and online payment technologies and services in emerging markets.
- Via PLDT’s experience in mobile payments and in remittance platforms, combined with Rocket’s global technology platform, the pair seeks to provide products and services for the “unbanked, uncarded and unconnected” populations in emerging markets.
- Rocket says it employs over 20,000 personnel in its network of companies across more than 100 countries, with revenue above €700 million in 2013.
- Its most prominent brands includeZalora, Lazada, Dafiti, Jumia, Linio, Namshi, jabong, Lamoda, Westwing, HelloFresh and Home24, in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, Russia, Europe and India.
- PLDT says its investment in Rocket will be in new shares issued by the company. These shares will be of the same class and will bear the same rights as shares held by current investors, it says.
- As part of the investment, PLDT will hold the right to appoint one member of Rocket's nine-person supervisory board.
“Rocket and PLDT share a vision for the growth opportunity of Internet and mobile business models in emerging markets, as smartphone penetration increases exponentially,” said Oliver Samwer, founder and CO of Rocket Internet, in a press release. “We believe in our ability to create significant value together, leveraging the Rocket platform and PLDT’s expertise. Strategic partnerships are a core part of Rocket's strategy to provide great services to consumers and rapidly roll out new Internet based business models across diverse geographies.
financial technology is a key focus sector for Rocket and this partnership will allow us to build on PLDT’s world-class innovations in mobile money and micro-payments and accelerate the delivery of those solutions around the world. We are very pleased to welcome PLDT into our core shareholder base."
“This move is in line with PLDT’s strategy of providing relevant and value-enhancing services to its customers,” said Manuel V. Pangilinan, chairman of PLDT, in the same release. “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.”