* To pay 340mln euros for first 50 pct of firms
* Can acquire remaining stakes until 2016
* Sees good prospects for e-commerce in emerging markets
STOCKHOLM, Aug 14 (Reuters) - Emerging markets telecoms group Millicom is to acquire stakes in two online shopping and services businesses in Latin America and Africa as it looks to expand higher value products in key markets.
After years of rapid expansion in emerging markets, Millicom has shifted focus from simply acquiring new subscribers to selling money-spinning services - like cash transfer and cable TV - to its existing client base.
Millicom said on Tuesday it would buy an initial 20 percent of Latin America Internet Holding (LIH) and Africa Internet Holding (AIH) with the option of increasing that to 50 percent over two years.
Millicom, which offers mobile telephony and other services in Latin America and Africa said it would pay 340 million euros for the first 50 percent of both companies.
It can acquire the remaining 50 stakes with full management rights no later than September 2016 at fair market value.
“In the same way as we have brought affordable mobile telephony services to emerging markets customers, with today’s deal, we will bring e-commerce and online services to people in Latin America and Africa,” said Chief Executive Officer Mikael Grahne.
“We believe that online services in emerging markets have the potential to go beyond the convenience they successfully brought in developed markets,” he added.
AIH and LIH control 8 businesses with estimated revenues of 35 million euros in 2012. New businesses will be launched over the next three years and Millicom said that start-up losses would be below 250 million euros.
Millicom has been generating large amounts of cash over the last few years, much of which it has returned to shareholders in extra dividends and share-buy backs, saying it could not find suitable acquisition targets.
Rocket Internet is 25 percent owned by Sweden’s Kinnevik , which also owns 36.9 percent of Millicom. ($1 = 0.8096 euros) (Reporting by Mia Shanley. Editing by Jeremy Gaunt.)