PCC clears Jack Ma’s Alipay acquisition of Globe Fintech

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Mynt's logo. FILE PHOTO FROM BUSINESSWORLD

MANILA – The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) said Wednesday it has approved Alipay Singapore Holding Pte.’s acquisition of Globe Fintech Innovations Inc. on August 23, 2017, after reaching a Phase 2 review that looked into digital financial services affecting the Philippine market.

Under the transaction, Alipay will acquire 45%; Globe Venture will hold 45%; and Ayala, 10% of the issued and outstanding share capital of Globe Fintech.

PCC proceeded to a Phase 2 review of the Alipay-Globe Fintech transaction as it needed to conduct an in-depth analysis of the possible effects of the transaction on the non-bank electronic money market.

“Electronic money is increasingly becoming a preferred mode of payment for the unbanked consumers, and we wanted to protect competition in this niche market” PCC said.

The PCC decision said there appears to be no increased ability nor incentive for Globe Fintech to block entry or expansion of other players in the market after the acquisition.

“We have closely looked into the dynamics of the players within the non-bank electronic money market. Since this market is still evolving, there is scope for more players to enter the industry, domestic or foreign. Therefore, the competition in this market is expected to remain robust,” PCC said.

Moreover, even with fewer players after the transaction, PCC considered that other payment options, including cash, limit any market power that may be exercised by Globe Fintech.

Alipay, Globe and GCash

Alipay is a unit of Ant Financial Group that provides digital financial services to unbanked consumers and small merchants.

Ant Financial Group, owned by Chinese tycoon Jack Ma, is a major third-party payment service provider in 70 overseas markets. It covers more than 100,000 retail stores and can carry out transactions in 18 currencies.

Globe Fintech Innovations Inc. (or Mynt) is currently wholly owned by Globe Capital Venture Holdings Inc., which is in turn a wholly owned subsidiary of Globe Telecom Inc.

Globe Fintech operates G-Xchange Inc. that handles G-Cash, a micropayment service that transforms the mobile phone into a virtual wallet, and Fuse Lending Inc., a tech-based lending company. These companies enable payments and transfer of prepaid load, pay bills, send money, make donations, shop online, and purchase goods via e-money.

PCC, the country’s antitrust body, is mandated under the Philippine Competition Act to review mergers and acquisitions to ensure that these deals will not prejudice the interest of the consumers.