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Indonesia’s Telkomsel Weighs Buying Gojek Convertible Debt

Fathiya Dahrul, Elffie Chew and Yoolim Lee
·2 min read

(Bloomberg) -- PT Telekomunikasi Selular, Indonesia’s biggest wireless network provider, is weighing investing in Gojek by buying $150 million of convertible bonds issued by the ride-hailing startup, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Telkomsel, a unit of state-owned PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia, has been in talks with Gojek on the matter for some time as part of a push to expand its digital business, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified as the process is private.

Deliberations on the issue, including size and timing, are ongoing and there is no certainty that a deal will proceed, said the people. A representative from Gojek declined to comment.

Telkomsel President Director Setyanto Hantoro said the company cannot comment on deals as it is bound by non-disclosure agreements, but it continues to seek opportunities to expand its services by building existing resources, borrowing via partnerships and buying external resources including startups.

Telkomsel is the largest wireless carrier in the Southeast Asian nation with 171 million subscribers, according to Telkom’s 2019 annual report. The company counts Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. as a minority shareholder.

Gojek has streamlined its core businesses to focus on digital payments, transport and food delivery in Indonesia, in a bid to move toward profitability. The startup is backed by some of the world’s largest technology companies including Google, Tencent Holdings Ltd., Facebook Inc. and PayPal Holdings Inc.

Its arch-rival Grab Holdings Inc. has recently come under pressure from SoftBank Group Corp., its biggest investor, to work out a ceasefire with Gojek, and the two companies are in regular contact, Bloomberg News has reported.

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