Category: Enterprise

Chinese B2B e-commerce platform Huimin to acquire Sequoia-backed Beequick

Based in Beijing, Huimin, a B2B-ecommerce platform that focuses on small-scale supermarkets has recently acquired a controlling stake in online-to-offline (O2O) platform Beequick.

This comes as an alternative for Beequick as the company is reportedly cutting staff last summer due to the lack of additional funding to keep the cash-burning business going. The firm also gave one of their two office floors in Beijing.

Following the acquisition by Huimin, which has raised RMB1.3 billion (about US$192 million) from domestic RMB funds in November, Beequick will survive as an independent unit under Huimin.

However, the deal also marks an official end to Beequick’s aspiration for an initial public offering (IPO), which appeared plausible in 2015 when it secured a US$750 million Series C financing round backed by Hillhouse, Tiantu, and Sequoia.

Founded in 2014, Beequick is an online-to-offline platform which provides under-an-hour delivery service for fresh produce and other convenient store products like snacks, beverages, liquor, and coffee etc after they purchase it on their mobile app.

Having over 100,000 convenient stores on its platform, it makes use of the large network of local convenient stores in China, reaching out to customers from the nearest convenient stores in town.

After the merger, Huimin and Beequick said there will be various opportunities to pursue cost saving and create synergies. The two companies also plan to consolidate their supply chain resources and enhance cooperation on convenience store operations.

Besides, with this agreement, Beequick can also focus more on their C-side user services, as well as to further enhance the speed and quality of their distribution services along with brand and marketing.

Established in 2013, Huimin currently operates 450,000 neighborhood stores across China. These modern stores offer standardized products and services, as well as computer and phone recharging facilities and umbrella deposit.

Previously, China Innovation Investment (Beijing) Ltd., China United SME Guarantee Corporation and Western Securities had invested RMB1.3 billion (US$192 million) in Huimin, with participation from existing investors Morningside Ventures, Zheshang Venture Capital and GP Capital.

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

Standard Chartered Private Equity acquires Chinese beauty center operator Siyanli

Standard Chartered Private Equity (SCPE), Standard Charted Bank’s private equity arm, has led a consortium to acquire a majority stake in Chinese beauty care service provider Shanghai Siyanli Industrial Co., Ltd. in a leveraged buy-out transaction.

Following the deal which values Siyanli at US$224 million, Standard Charted Private Equity unit which was previously a minority shareholder in the spa and beauty operator will now acquire a controlling interest pro-acquisition.

“We are privileged to partner with Siyanli and its management team, who are determined to continue building a successful beauty care brand that caters to the future needs of China customers. We look forward to supporting the team to accelerate its growth and presence in China,” said Zhu Wei, the managing director of Standard Chartered Private Equity.

Founded in 1996, Siyanli is a high-end beauty care service provider in China, operating under the brand “Si Yan Li” which has been established as a recognisable beauty care brands and reports a strong brand funnel across the cities it operates in.

Siyanli operates 160 beauty centers in dozens of cities in China via self-owned and franchised stores, where consumers can receive skin care and anti-aging treatments, as well as massage and spa services. It claims to have over 100,000 paid members.

Post-acquisition, Zhu Wei will also take up the role of chairman at Siyanli following the buyout deal.

“As a partner to Siyanli, SCPE, with the joint effort from the investment consortium, we hope that we can add to the management expertise and avail the Standard Charted Bank global network – to support Siyanli’s growth plan and strategic expansion,” SCPE said.

SCPE manages about US$5 billion, including the Standard Charted’s own funds and money from external investors that include Goldman Sachs Group. As at November 2016, it owned stakes in about 80 companies across Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. These range from a Nigerian energy producer to a Jordanian chicken company.

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

Razer acquires Nextbit, the maker of cloud-based smartphone Robin

Razer, an American gaming company originally based in Singapore, has recently acquired the majority assets of Nextbit Systems Inc. in order to enter the smartphone industry.

Although financial details of the transaction, which has closed in January, were not disclosed, Razer has bought most of the assets of Nextbit and will bring the management and employees of Nextbit onboard.

“Nextbit is one of the most exciting companies in the mobile space,” says Razer’s co-founder and CEO Min-Liang Tan. “Razer has a track record of disrupting industries where our technology and ability to design and innovate have allowed us to dominate categories with longstanding incumbents.”

“With the talent that Nextbit brings to Razer,” Tan further adds, “We can look forward to unleashing more disruption and growing our business in new areas.”

Founded in 2013 by early Android Veterans Tom Moss and Mike Chan, Nextbit is the company that produces the Indie smartphone known as Robin. Built around a cloud-based platform, Robin specialises in the seamless integration of Android OS whereby it would automatically store data on the cloud.

Different from other third-party cloud services like G-Drive and OneDrive, Robin will store only the data which is not frequently used, while automatically placing it to the local storage once the data is being frequently accessed.

In September 2015, the company launched a Kickstarter and soon reached its US$500,000 goal, after which it announced the Robin cloud phone. In May 2016, the phone was launched in India at Rs 19,999 with 100GB cloud storage space.

Post-acquisition, Nextbit will operate as a standalone business unit under its own management and apart from the ongoing business of its parent company. Additionally, Nextbit will continue with product support and software updates for its Robin smartphone.

“In order to reach a wider audience and continue our mission, we decided to join with a larger brand,” says Tom Moss, the Co-founder and CEO of Nextbit. “We’re lucky to have found a company in Razer that shares our value of pushing the boundaries of what our devices can do.”

This also marks Razer’s second acquisition in three months, with audio legends THX, a company of whom they have held a long standing partnership with, joining the Razer family back in October last year.

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

Chinese Tianmei Beverage Group to IPO on Australian Securities Exchange by February 2017

Tianmei Beverage Group Corporate Limited, a Chinese F&B company, is going through with its initial public offering (IPO) on the ASX board which is slated to be listed by February 2017.

Led by Phillip Capital, Tianmei’s IPO will see between 40 and 50 million new shares issued at the pricing of A$A0.20, which will raise the Chinese F&B company about A$8 to A$10 million.

Existing shareholders currently hold 120 million shares, in which its market capitalization post-IPO is estimated to be between A$32 and A$34 million with a free float cap of about 30 percent.

Based in Guangdong, Tianmei produces a range of premium bottled water products, as well as retailing fast-moving consumer (FMCG) products through an established network of 941 retail stores and supermarkets.

Aside from bottled spring water, the company also sells a range of 530-millilitre baby water branded under Tianmei label, which is targeted at parents. The bottle holds “premium” spring water that has undergone special treatment and packaged under high-pressure sterilisation.

As part of its public listing on the ASX, Tianmei is also in search of partnership with Australian producers to sell their products through the existing retail network to China, alongside Tianmei’s own range of beverages.

Anthony Sherlock, the Chairman of Tianmei Beverage Group

Anthony Sherlock, the Chairman of Tianmei Beverage Group

“Expanding to China has always been a challenge for Australian companies. China has a vast and diverse population spread over a huge area, which means that trading practices, dialects, and product regulations can vary greatly in different provinces – especially when you get into the outer regions. It’s a much bigger and more complicated market than Australia,” said Anthony Sherlock, the Australian Chairman of Tianmei Beverage Group.

At present, Tianmei has entered into MOUs with two Australian firms, a dairy producer that makes milk, butter, and yogurt products as well as a food and beverage distributor.

“The best way to do business in China is with a trusted intermediary that understands the landscape and already has strategic partnerships in place. Like most people, Chinese executives generally prefer to deal with people they are familiar with and who have an established track record,” Sherlock adds.

Moreover, given that Australia possesses a significant brand strength with regard to high health and environmental standards, this will bring benefits to the exportation of Australian FMCG products to China.

Proceeds from the IPO will be used to fund the acquisition of the Qianlifeng water processing plant in Hunan province, which Tianmei uses for water processing, in addition to working capital purposes, to drive product promotion in China, and to provide security of supply for the firm.

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

Vietnamese buyout firm PHI Group to acquire majority stake in agribusiness HMC

PHI Group, an American private equity investment firm focusing on acquisitions and investments has bought a majority stake in northern Vietnam-based agriculture company Hoang Minh Chau Hung Yen LLC (HMC) in a cash and stock transaction, according to a press statement.

As per details regarding the Memorandum of Agreement, PHI Group will be acquiring a minimum of 51 percent interest in Hoang Minh Chau Hung Yen LLC, a Vietnamese firm located in Chi Tan Village, Khoai Chau District.

Well known for its turmeric fields, Chi Tan, however, has only been involved in the processing business in the past three years and is yet to build a strong branding. Founded in 2011, HMC is among a dozen family businesses in the area that are involved in growing and buying raw materials from farmers for processing.

HMC specialises in cultivating and processing turmeric (curcuma longa) and currently manages a 600-hectare raw material field in Hung Yen province. Aside from growing turmeric, the company also buys harvested crops from other local farmers for its turmeric processing plant.

At present, the Vietnamese turmeric manufacturer produces 5 to 7 tonnes of turmeric powder every year. Additionally, it aims to extend its capacity to 15 tonnes in the following years.

It produces turmeric powder for food, healthcare and beauty supply and also contracts with the Vietnamese Institute of Industrial Chemistry to process curcuminoids from turmeric for various usages.

This acquisition also comes as part of PHI Group’s plan to apply the proprietary enhanced bioavailable nutrients and natural symbiotic immune system to grow organic turmeric in Hung Yen province, Vietnam and at the same time utilise HMC’s expertise and experience to grow premium organic turmeric in the United States for Abundant Farms, a PHI Group’s agricultural subsidiary.

“Since traditional turmeric rhizomes in Chi Tan Village, Hung Yen Province are among the very best in the world in terms of size and curcumin contents, we believe PHI Group’s Abundant Farms can greatly benefit from using these seed roots and HMC’s expertise and experience in our turmeric farming program,” commented Henry Fahman, the chairman and CEO of PHI Group.

PHI Group focuses mainly on acquisitions and buyouts in selected industries, investing in special situations and provides corporate and project finance services, including M&A advisory and consulting services for other companies. Most of its portfolio are agricultural companies and projects.

“We look forward to working with PHI Group to utilize its enhanced bioavailable nutrients and natural symbiotic immune system to grow premium organic turmeric in Hung Yen Province to provide better quality and yields for our turmeric crops,” said Dong Quang Hoang, the Director of HMC.

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

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