Rumors have been circulating for a few weeks but Telenor Group has now officially confirmed that the Norwegian telecom giant has agreed to sell its 51 percent share in Wake Money Myanmar to Yoma Strategic.
The company said in a press release on 17 January that Telenor Group will sell its 51 percent share of Digital Money Myanmar Limited (“Wave Money”) for USD 53 million to Yoma MFS Holdings Pte. Ltd, a subsidiary of Yoma Strategic.
Moreover, the announcement said that this subsidiary is to be funded by a consortium of investors led by Yoma Strategic which remains subject to completion and final funding. When the transaction is concluded, Yoma Strategic will become the largest and controlling shareholder of Wave Money, ensuring that the company continues operations and further extends its leading role in Myanmar’s fintech sector.
Wave Money is a leading provider of money transfer and digital payment solutions in Myanmar. The company was launched in November 2016 as a joint venture between Yoma Bank and Telenor Group, after the fintech pioneer was awarded a license to become the first non-bank institution to work under Myanmar’s new Mobile Financial Services Regulation.
In 2020, Wave Money processed a total of USD 8.7 billion in remittance and payments, which represented around 12 percent of Myanmar’s GDP. The company runs a network of more than 45,000 active agents or “Wave Shops” in urban and rural areas across 295 out of the 330 townships nationwide. The business has seen a significant recovery in volumes since June 2021 with the trend expected to continue.
“This acquisition reinforces Yoma Strategic’s desire to build a strong financial and technology ecosystem in the country over the long term. The digitization in the economy, in particular in financial services, has been remarkable for Myanmar. We are pleased that Wave Money has positively transformed the way of life of people in Myanmar, bringing financial inclusion to the mass,” says Melvyn Pun, CEO, Yoma Strategic.
“Telenor is proud to have been part of Wave Money’s journey to empower the people of Myanmar with country-wide access to financial services. We have worked in partnership with Yoma Strategic to ensure that anyone from anywhere can digitally send and receive money, make contactless and secure payments in-stores or online using the market-leading mobile Wallet App of Wave Money. We are confident that Yoma has the commitment and vision to take Wave Money forward to the next level of driving financial inclusion”, says Lars Erik Tellmann, Head of Financial Services in Telenor Group.
The agreement between Yoma Strategic and Telenor Group completes the divestment process announced in June 2020. The transaction is subject to various conditions to be completed, among them regulatory approval from the Myanmar Central Bank.