May 8, 2017 / 9:32 AM / 9 months ago

Southeast Asian e-commerce firm Garena raises $550 mln, rebrands as Sea

SINGAPORE, May 8 (Reuters) - Southeast Asia-focused e-commerce startup Garena Interactive Holding Ltd renamed itself Sea Ltd on Monday and said it had raised $550 million to expand in key markets such as Indonesia.

The fundraising by Sea comes amid a flurry of similar deals in the region as competition for a share of Southeast Asia’s biggest e-commerce market Indonesia intensifies, with more people in the 250-million strong nation gaining access to the Internet.

Sea, which also provides digital payments and online gaming services, said most of the new capital would be used to grow its e-commerce platform Shopee.

Shopee has more than doubled in size in the past nine months and now has an annualised gross merchandise value of over $3.0 billion, it added.

Investors in Sea’s fundraising round included Farallon Capital Management, Hillhouse Capital, Indonesia’s GDP Venture and Philippine conglomerate JG Summit Holdings Inc, the company said. An investment arm of Taiwanese food conglomerate Uni-President Enterprises Corp and Cathay Financial Holding Co also took part.

Sea did not disclose its current valuation, but was valued at $3.75 billion in a March 2016 funding round.

In one of the biggest bets on e-commerce in Southeast Asia, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd bought a controlling stake in Southeast Asian online retailer Lazada Group for about $1 billion last year.

Indonesia’s online marketplace Tokopedia is also in talks with China’s JD.Com Inc for possible fund raising, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters last week.

Sea counts SeaTown Holdings, a subsidiary of Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings, and Malaysian state investor Khazanah Nasional Bhd among its investors. It also plans a $1 billion initial public offering, IFR, a Thomson Reuters publication, reported in January.

On Monday, Sea also named former Singapore foreign minister George Yeo, former Indonesia minister of trade Mari Pangestu and Pandu Sjahrir, a director of Indonesian coal PT Toba Bara Sejahtra Tbk, as senior advisors. (Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Miral Fahmy)

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