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KKR, Tencent, others to invest US$175M in Philippines' Voyager Innovations

Investors led by investment firm KKR & Co. and Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. agreed to acquire a substantial minority stake in Philippine digital technology company Voyager Innovations Inc. for as much as US$175 million.

Each of the investors will separately purchase newly issued shares in Voyager Innovations, a unit of Philippine telecom operator PLDT Inc., according to an Oct. 4 news release.

PLDT will remain the majority shareholder in Voyager Innovations upon closing of the deals, which is expected within the fourth quarter. The deals allow Voyager Innovations to issue additional shares to other investors, which would reduce PLDT's stake to less than 50% while still retaining it as the largest stakeholder.

The deal is not subject to merger rules under the Philippine Competition Act. The country's central bank, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, also did not raise objections to the investment.

Voyager Innovations operates various e-commerce platforms, such as prepaid wallet service PayMaya, mobile acquiring service PayMaya Business, mobile-based remittance network Smart Padala and digital lending platform Lendr. It also runs freenet, a rewards app for free access to internet and mobile apps.