Telenor Group

Telenor divests Wave Money stake

02 July 2020 | Melanie Mingas

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Telenor Group has confirmed it is to sell its 34.2% stake in e-wallet Wave Money for US$76.5 million.

The news followed a $73.5 million investment in Myanmar-based Wave Money, announced by Ant Financial Services Group in May.

Noting the “attractive return” in a statement, Telenor Group said its partners will be “the strongest owners” to take Wave Money forward.

“This is an opportune time for Telenor Group to divest,” said Lars Erik Tellmann (pictured), head of financial services at Telenor Group.

“Both Yoma Group and Ant Group’s core operation is financial services and technology, and they are therefore the strongest owners to take Wave Money forward. Wave Money has built a leading position in money transfer and will continue to be a strategic distribution channel for Telenor Myanmar, our mobile operator in the country. We are proud to have been part of Wave Money’s impressive growth journey from day one and contributed towards making Myanmar a more financially inclusive society,”

Since it was established as a joint venture between Telenor and Yoma Bank in 2016, Telenor has co-owned Wave Money with Yoma Bank and First Myanmar Investment Co. Ltd.

In May it was announced that Ant Group would join the strategic partnership, investing $73.5 million in Wave Money. Ant Group is the operator of Alipay, the world’s largest digital payment and lifestyle platform.

However, in breaking the news, Telenor said the partnership between its wholly owned subsidiary Telenor Myanmar and Wave Money will continue.

A statement read: “The co-operation will result in attractive payment offerings for both Wave and Telenor customers, promoting financial inclusion and increasing the digitalisation of the Myanmar economy.”

In 2018 Telenor entered a strategic partnership with Ant Financial Services Group in Pakistan – a deal that saw Ant invest US$184.5 million for a 45% stake in Telenor subsidiary Telenor Microfinance Bank (TMB).

The partnership combined Ant’s fintech experience from Alipay and Telenor’s local presence to support the development of TMB’s mobile payment and digital financial services, including Easypaisa, Pakistan’s first mobile financial services platform launched by TMB in 2009.

Today Telenor Group’s financial services operations include TMB in Pakistan, Gpay and Mobicash in Bangladesh, and Valyou in Malaysia.