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Alibaba, BPEA, partners complete $400M stake sale in Masan retail arm

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The CrownX is Masan’s integrated consumer retail arm that consolidates its interests in Masan Consumer Holdings and VinCommerce. MASAN

Alibaba, BPEA, partners complete $400M stake sale in Masan retail arm

Ho Chi Minh City-listed Masan Group Corp (HoSE: MSN) on June 14 announced the completion of a private issuance of a 5.5 per cent stake in The CrownX Corporation to a consortium led by Alibaba Group and Baring Private Equity Asia (BPEA) for a cash consideration of $400 million.

The deal was first announced on May 18.

The CrownX is Masan’s integrated consumer retail arm that consolidates its interests in Masan Consumer Holdings and VinCommerce (VCM).

The transaction implies a pre-money valuation of $6.9 billion for The CrownX, or $93.5 per share. Masan now owns 80.2 per cent in it.

The formation of The CrownX last year brought together two industry leaders to form a consumer and retail powerhouse.

The transaction marks a shared vision across the company’s shareholders that The CrownX has the potential to establish Vietnam’s first tech-enabled consumer ecosystem and expand its reach to serve consumers nationwide.

Masan Group CEO Danny Le said: “This strategic partnership will accelerate our ability to achieve our goal of transforming The CrownX into a one-stop shop to serve consumers’ everyday needs, whether offline or online, ‘Point of Life’.

“Our immediate priority is to modernise Vietnam’s grocery market and develop an unparalleled consumer proposition from assortment to shopping experience.

“I strongly believe that this partnership will reduce our learning curve and enable us to reach our endgame more efficiently and effectively.”

BPEA managing director Janice Leow said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Masan and Alibaba, and believe this strategic investment has the potential to supercharge The CrownX’s growth in a nascent retail market and create the largest consumer ecosystem in Vietnam.

“As a long-term investor in the country, we think Vietnam has a long runway for growth supported by strong macroeconomic tailwinds and attractive demographics.

“The CrownX also has tremendous digital potential, particularly in e-commerce and data analytics. BPEA prioritises digital transformation in all of our portfolio companies, and we look forward to working with the company in its next stage of growth.”

As part of Alibaba’s investment, The CrownX will now partner with Lazada to build the company’s digital presence and capabilities and accelerate the offline-to-online (O2O) market in Vietnam.

VCM will enter a strategic cooperation agreement with Lazada, Alibaba’s Southeast Asian e-commerce platform.

It will be the grocery retailer of choice on Lazada in Vietnam.

The parties will share know-how, co-develop analytics to develop grocery as a key online category, transform VCM’s offline stores into pick-up points for online orders, and explore synergies between the respective parties’ logistics platforms for service and cost optimisation for consumers.

Grocery accounts for 50 per cent of Vietnam’s retail market and 25 per cent of consumer wallet share and is of essential daily use, but online penetration is still nascent.

Masan targets The CrownX’s online gross merchandise accounting for at least five per cent of its total sales in the near future.

Masan is also in advanced discussions for a further strategic investment of $300-400 million in The CrownX from other investors, and these are expected to be wrapped up this year.

VIET NAM NEWS/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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