Rocket Internet and PLDT form joint mobile payments venture

Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, a Filipino telecoms operator, has formed a joint venture with Rocket Internet to drive the adoption of online and mobile payment solutions in emerging markets.

The two companies will each hold a 50 per cent stake in the venture, which will combine assets from both to form a partnership to capture the global potential of mobile-first payment services, especially in emerging markets.

PLDT will contribute the intellectual property, platforms and business operations of its mobile-first payment platform Smart e-Money Inc. (“SMI”) to the partnership. SMI handled transactions valued at approximately EUR 3.4 billion in 2013, and boasts 5 million active customers and 300,000 trade accounts.

Rocket will contribute its participations in payment platforms Paymill and Payleve, which were built with small-and-medium-sized European e-commerce businesses in mind.

The transaction is still subject to approval, but the two companies plan to close the deal in Q1 2015.  The global partnership was kicked off by the pre-IPO investment of PLDT in Rocket in 2014.

“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,” said Oliver Samwer, founder and CEO of Rocket Internet, in a release. “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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