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Alibaba Consortium Acquires 5.5 Pct Stake In Masan Group’s The CrownX

A consortium led by China’s Alibaba and Baring Private Equity Asia has acquired a 5.5 percent stake in Vietnam’s Masan Group’s consumer-retail platform The CrownX for $400 million, the companies said in a Tuesday (May 18) press release.

Masan set up The CrownX platform — its integrated consumer retail arm — in 2019 by consolidating its interests in Masan Consumer Holdings and VinCommerce. After the consortium’s investment, Masan will own 80.2 percent of the company. Mason Group is controlled by the founder and Vietnamese tycoon Nguyen Dang Quang.

“The combination of Alibaba’s online retail expertise, Lazada’s e-commerce platform in Vietnam, and Masan’s leading offline network will be a strong catalyst to modernize Vietnam’s retail landscape. We look forward to building a champion offline-to-online platform alongside Masan,” Kenny Ho, head of investment for Southeast Asia, Alibaba Group, said in the release.

The CrownX is valued at $6.9 billion before the investment. The new capital infusion will enable The CrownX to partner with Alibaba’s Lazada, its Vietnamese digital shopping portal for groceries and other essentials. The move is intended to boost the company’s digital presence and advance the offline to online (O2O) market in Vietnam.

“This strategic partnership will accelerate our ability to achieve our goal of transforming The CrownX into a one-stop-shop to serve consumers’ everyday needs, whether offline or online,” said Masan Group Chief Executive Officer Danny Le.

He added that the first step will be to “modernize Vietnam’s grocery market” while also creating an “unparalleled consumer proposition.” He also said that the partnership will help the company accomplish its goals “more efficiently and effectively.”

Alibaba said last week that it was planning to branch out into new areas after posting record results that include over 1 billion active users and gross merchandise value of $1.2 trillion. Aside from eCommerce, Alibaba, like Amazon, also has a profitable media and entertainment unit and cloud business.

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