Aug 232014

MANILA, Philippines – The stake of leading telecommunications operator Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) in Berlin-based Rocket Internet AG was further diluted to 8.4 percent following the entry of new investor Holtzbrinck Ventures (HV).

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange late Friday, PLDT said it welcomes the entry of HV in Rocket Internet.

HV is acquiring a 2.5 percent stake in Rocket Internet.

PLDT used to hold a 10 percent stake in Rocket Internet, but this was reduced to 8.6 percent after the entry of United Internet AG which invested about $582.7 million (435 million euros) for a 10.7 percent stake earlier this month.

United Internet’s stake has also been pared down to 10.4 percent after HV’s investment in Rocket Internet.

The latest transaction is expected to allow Rocket Internet to progress on its declared strategic objective of owning larger stakes in its network of companies.

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Other firms which have stakes in Rocket Internet are Global Founders Fund GmbH (52.3 percent), Investment AB Kinnevik (18.1 percent) and Access Industries (8.3 percent).

HV is one of Europe’s most successful early-stage investors in the Internet sector, having financed over 120 companies.

Rocket Internet which started in 2007, provides a platform for the rapid creation and scaling of consumer Internet businesses outside the US and China.

It currently has more than 20,000 employees across its network of companies which operate in more than 100 countries in five continents.

Earlier this month, PLDT announced its biggest overseas investment amounting to $446 million for a 10 percent stake in Rocket Internet.

PLDT said that under the new partnership, products and services would be provided for the “unbanked, uncarded and unconnected” population in emerging markets.

PLDT and Rocket Internet are planning to establish a joint venture in order to explore online and mobile e-payment applications in the Philippines and throughout the Rocket network of companies worldwide.

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