Malaysia’s Merchantrade acquires fintech player, Valyou from Telenor Group

  • Merchantrade becomes Malaysia’s top money services business operator
  • Primed for regional expansion, follows increase stake in Singapore’s KLIQ

[Ed: Headline corrected to reflect that Valyou is more than an e-wallet provider.]

Malaysia’s Merchantrade acquires fintech player, Valyou from Telenor GroupMerchantrade Asia Sdn Bhd (Merchantrade), Malaysia’s leader in digital money services business operator and e-money issuer, has acquired 100 per cent stake in Valyou Sdn Bhd (Valyou), from Norway’s Telenor Group following a competitive bidding exercise. Merchantrade has also obtained all regulatory approvals for the acquisition.

Valyou is a fast-growing mobile fintech player in Malaysia and a leading cross-border digital remittance service provider and e-money issuer serving a customer base of over 1 million through its online and app-based digital channels and physical network comprising of 22 branches, 20 agents and 1,200 cash-in cash-out (CICO) merchants.

Ramasamy K Veeran, managing director of Merchantrade said that following the completion of the acquisition, the businesses and operations of Valyou will be merged with Merchantrade and operate as a single entity by the end of 2020.

The merger of these two leading fintech players with each having their own strong e-wallet services, Merchantrade with Merchantrade Money, a card-based e-wallet with VISA prepaid card and Valyou’s app-based e-wallet, will be a game-changer in the local digital payments space with plans to accelerate the roll-out and provide convenient access to more secure and innovative financial products and services to migrant workers, expatriates, Malaysian travellers and tech-savy online shoppers.

Together with a combined staff strength of over 1,200 and a network of over 1,700 touchpoints that consist of branches, agent locations and CICO merchants, the acquisition propels Merchantrade to be Malaysia’s largest money services business operator, serving a customer base of over three million.

The acquisition will result in Merchantrade having a combined annual remittance turnover value (based on 2019 figures) of more than RM11 billion which includes domestic outbound and international aggregator transactions, and will bring about an exponential growth of Merchantrade’s digital business, especially for Merchantrade Money.

Ramasamy adds that the acquisition will also consolidate and significantly bump-up Merchantrade’s share of Malaysia’s large migrant-worker customer base which is a major user of the cross-border remittance services. “To serve the migrant worker segment effectively, we’ve built an ecosystem of relevant financial services through industry partnerships and collaborations. We currently work with AXA and MCIS to offer affordable micro-insurance products. The acquisition of Valyou will further strengthen and expand our digital channel and present us with new opportunities to partner with more financial services provider and set the stage for us to go regional,” he adds.

In line with its aspiration to become a regional player, Merchantrade in July this year further consolidated its position in the large Singapore cross-border remittance market by acquiring an additional 21% stake in KLIQ Pte Ltd (KLIQ), a fully digital cross-border remittance service provider based on Singapore, to make KLIQ a 70 per cent subsidiary.

“Looking at our past achievements and with the combined talent pool following the acquisition of Valyou, I am extremely confident we will have the people, resources and capabilities to  further expand our presence and businesses both in Malaysia and regionally. I am excited and optimistic of our journey ahead” says Ramasamy.