Philippines PLDT, Rocket Internet Align for Mobile-First Payment Solutions

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Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, a telecoms operator in the Philippines, and Rocket Internet AG, an Internet platform outside the US & China, have engaged in a global Joint Venture for payment services with a focus on emerging markets, with each partner holding a 50 percent stake.

This project, envisaged as a global partnership that was kicked off by the pre-IPO investment of PLDT in Rocket in 2014, builds on the complementary strengths of Rocket and PLDT, to drive the massive adoption of online and mobile payment solutions in emerging markets.

PLDT will contribute the intellectual property, platforms and business operations of its market leading mobile-first payment platform Smart e-Money Inc. (“SMI”), a pioneer in mobile banking and mobile wallet services which has handled transactions valued at approximately EUR 3.4 billion in 2013. With over 5 million active customers and 300,000 trade accounts, SMI owns and manages the Philippines’ biggest “branchless banking” network, certified at the highest global security and governance standards as a financial service platform. Rocket will contribute its participations in Paymill Holding GmbH (“Paymill”) and Payleven Holding GmbH (“Payleven”), two of the leading payment platforms for high growth, small-and-medium-sized e-commerce businesses across Europe.

The combination of PLDT and Rocket assets creates a leader in mobile payments expertise uniquely positioned to capture the global potential of mobile-first payment services especially in emerging markets. Subject to approval by the relevant authorities, the transaction is planned to close in Q1 2015.

Napoleon L. Nazareno, President and CEO of PLDT, said: ”PLDT continues to build on its strategy to become a driving force in the digital economy, and with Rocket, we have a partner who understands the DNA of the global Internet market more than any other company. We look forward to continuing the long-term success story of Smart Money and optimizing the synergies between e-commerce and innovative mobile-first payment solutions.”

Oliver Samwer, Founder and CEO of Rocket Internet, added: “This Joint Venture is the next logical step of our valuable partnership with PLDT and we are pleased that our shared vision for the growth opportunities of the global payment market has been implemented in such an expedited fashion. Rocket’s network of companies combined with PLDT’s 14 years of experience in the mobile payment industry will allow us to deliver world-class innovations in mobile money and micro-payments around the world.”


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