PHA board OKs deal with fintech firm Squidpay

Investment holding firm Premiere Horizon Alliance Corp. (PHA) has obtained board approval to buy 33 percent of digital payments firm Squidpay Technology Inc. (SPT) for P561 million as part of a “reverse takeover” deal that ceded PHA’s boardroom and management control to SPT’s owners.

Trading on PHA was suspended by the Philippine Stock Exchange on Thursday pending submission of a comprehensive disclosure on this transaction.

Based on the deal pricing, SPT fetched an equity value of P1.7 billion, which was “within the range of values” in the valuation report prepared by KPMG.

In the preliminary disclosure filed by PHA, KPMG had valued 100 percent of SPT at a maximum of P3 billion. This was close to the entire market capitalization of PHA to date.

Startup

SPT is run by the group of technopreneur Marvin dela Cruz. Launched in May 2020, it is a fintech startup that provides end-to-end instantaneous electronic payments and collections with stored value cards, QR (quick response) codes and mobile applications.

“The acquisition is in line with PHA’s direction of investing in the fintech space,” PHA noted in its disclosure.

PHA chair and CEO Augusto Cosio Jr. explained this was a “reverse takeover”—not a backdoor-listing—as PHA’s other businesses, particularly its real estate ventures, remained a big component.

He added there would be no change in the primary purpose of PHA as an investment holding firm.

-Doris Dumlao-Abadilla, business.inquirer.net / November 19, 2021

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