Deal: TPG’s Rise Fund Invests $200M In Airtel Africa’s Mobile Money Arm

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The Rise Fund, a $5 billion impact investment fund formed by private equity giant TPG in partnership with Irish singer Bono and tech entrepreneur Jeff Skoll, has made its latest bet with a $200 million investment in the mobile money division of Airtel Africa plc.

Officially, The Rise Fund will pay $200 million for a 7.5% stake in Airtel Mobile Commerce BV, which’s the holding company for Airtel Africa’s mobile money operations. The investment values Airtel Africa’s mobile money business at $2.65 billion on a cash and debt-free basis.

Airtel Africa announced The Rise Fund’s investment in its mobile money arm with a filing to the National Stock Exchange of India.

  • Following The Rise Fund’s investment, Airtel Africa will continue to retain a majority stake in its mobile money business while the fund holds a 7.5% minority stake. With that, Airtel Africa notes that it’s still in discussions with other unnamed potential investors to sell up to 25% of its mobile money business and retain a 75% majority stake.
  • Airtel Africa also notes that it aims to explore a public listing of its mobile money arm within four years.
  • The mobile money division of Airtel Africa officially operates under the Airtel Money brand. It primarily offers digital payment services for individual customers and is present in 14 countries across Africa.
  • The mobile money arm of concern brought in $110 million in revenue in its most recently reported fiscal quarter. It posted a 41% growth in quarterly revenue over the past year. In that quarter, its gross payment volume was reported at nearly $13 billion and up 53% over the past year.
  • With a stake in Airtel Mobile Commerce BV, The Rise Fund has added yet another unit to its portfolio of payments company holdings worldwide. The fund has been a big investor in various fintech companies across the globe, with a portfolio including neobank Varo Bank and micro-investing app Acorns in America, and CFPA Microfinance in China.
  • “Through Airtel Money, Airtel Africa has built a unique platform that is closing the gap between traditional financial institutions and the millions of unbanked Africans across the 14 countries where Airtel Africa operates,” TPG partner Yemi Lalude said in a statement. “We look forward to working with Airtel Africa to enhance their mobile money services, broaden its use cases, and grow into new markets.”

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