HK billionaire rebounds from blunders with win from Goto IPO

HONG KONG: Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li is again within the highlight.

The youthful son of Li Ka-shing – the 93-year-old identified within the metropolis as “Superman” for his deal-making prowess — is gaining floor as an achieved investor of his personal. His newest win: GoTo Group, the Indonesian tech big that can begin buying and selling at this time.

Tokopedia, the online-shopping startup that merged with ride-hailing firm Gojek to create GoTo, is likely one of the junior Li’s first main bets in South-East Asia, a area he is been focusing on to diversify his empire.

Li, 55, began backing the agency in 2017 and sat on its board till 2020. He unsuccessfully tried to mix Tokopedia with one among his blank-check corporations earlier than the take care of Gojek got here alongside, giving rise to Indonesia’s largest tech agency.

Now GoTo has raised US$1.1bil (RM4.64bil) in one of many world’s largest preliminary public choices (IPOs) this yr. Primarily based on its pricing, Li’s stake – owned by way of three automobiles – is price US$900mil (RM3.79bil). That may take his internet price to about US$5bil (RM21.09bil), in keeping with the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Li, whose fortune is generally based mostly on Hong Kong belongings, has been growing his investments in South-East Asia in recent times. In 2019, his Hong Kong insurer, FWD Group Holdings Ltd, purchased a Thai peer for US$3bil (RM12.65bil) and arrange a 15-year life insurance coverage distribution settlement with Vietnam’s largest lender. The next yr, he agreed to accumulate a 30% minority stake in PT Financial institution Rakyat Indonesia’s life insurer.

He then teamed up with PayPal Holdings Inc co-founder Peter Thiel to determine a special-purpose acquisition firm (SPAC) scouring alternatives in South-East Asia. He has since backed three SPACs specializing in the area, two of which have listed. One in every of them merged with Singaporean on-line actual property platform PropertyGuru Pte and began buying and selling final month.

Li additionally owns South-East Asia’s second-largest streaming service. Viu had extra paid subscribers than Netflix Inc within the area final yr, trailing solely Disney Plus.

By backing GoTo, the Hongkonger joined traders together with Softbank Group Corp’s Imaginative and prescient Fund, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s Taobao China and Sequoia Capital India.

He is getting one of many largest particular person windfalls from the itemizing. His stake will likely be price greater than these of the corporate’s chief govt officer or its co-founders, in keeping with Bloomberg calculations based mostly on the IPO prospectus.

The son of the person who for years was Hong Kong’s richest particular person, Li has had his share of blunders.

After a short stunt at his father’s ports-to-retail conglomerate, the Stanford College dropout broke away to construct his personal empire. Issues began out nicely. He bought a controlling stake of his first endeavour, media firm Star TV, to Rupert Murdoch’s Information Corp in 1993 and based Pacific Century Group, an funding agency with pursuits in areas from tech to media and monetary providers.

However with the dotCom bubble burst, shares of PCCW Ltd, now its telecom and media enterprise, started to droop. By 2009, the corporate had misplaced 99% of its market worth, and when Li tried to purchase it out a courtroom dominated the plan had been manipulated. In 2005, he bought 20% of it to a state-owned agency now a part of the China Unicom Group to chop down on debt after borrowing US$12bil (RM50.63bil) to fund PCCW’s buy of Hong Kong’s then dominant cellphone firm, Cable & Wi-fi HKT Ltd. — Bloomberg


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