Philippines' PLDT to buy into Rocket Internet for $446 mln

MANILA Thu Aug 7, 2014 2:13am EDT

MANILA Aug 7 (Reuters) - Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co said on Thursday it had agreed to buy a 10 percent stake in German firm Rocket Internet for 333 million euros ($446 million) to develop mobile and online payment systems in emerging markets.

Berlin-based Rocket will issue new shares to PLDT, with the Philippine firm financing the investment from available cash and new debt, the two companies said in a statement.

"Financial technology is a key focus sector for Rocket and this partnership will allow us to build on PLDT's world-class innovations in mobile money and micro-payments," Oliver Samwer, founder and chief executive of Rocket, said in the statement.

Rocket Internet wants to create the largest internet empire outside the United States and China, to replicate the success of Amazon and Alibaba in markets U.S. and Chinese firms have yet to dominate.

($1 = 0.7470 euro) (Reporting by Rosemarie Francisco)