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Telenor to divest stake in Myanmar's Wave Money to Yoma for $53 mln

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SINGAPORE, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Norwegian telecom firm Telenor has agreed to sell its 51% stake in Myanmar's Wave Money, a digital payment service provider, for $53 million to a subsidiary of Yoma Strategic, the companies said in a joint statement on Monday.

The subsidiary, Yoma MFS Holdings Pte Ltd, is to be funded by a consortium of investors led by Singapore-listed Yoma Strategic, the companies said.

The sale price values Wave Money at about $104 million. That compares with a valuation of about $150 million in mid-2020 when the companies had first signed a deal for Telenor to divest its stake for $76.5 million.

Yoma said the new deal took into account factors including the economic and business developments in Myanmar since the previous announcements and potential synergies for Wave Money to collaborate with the company's other businesses.

Telenor wrote off the value of its Myanmar operations last year following a military coup in February, and in July agreed to sell its telecoms business in the Southeast Asian nation to Lebanese investment firm M1 Group for $105 million https://www.reuters.com/business/media-telecom/telenor-sells-myanmar-operations-m1-group-105-mln-2021-07-08. That deal is still awaiting approval from Myanmar authorities.

Wave Money was launched in November 2016 as a joint venture between Telenor and Yoma Bank, which is part of First Myanmar Investment (FMI). FMI and Yoma Strategic are part of tycoon Serge Pun's Yoma Group.

In 2020, Wave Money processed $8.7 billion in remittance and payments. The business has seen a significant recovery in volumes since June 2021 with the trend expected to continue, the companies said in a statement.

(Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan in Singapore Editing by Ed Davies)

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