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Indonesian Wireless Network Telkomsel Eyes Investing $150M In Gojek

Indonesia’s biggest wireless carrier, state-owned Telekomunikasi Selular, is considering buying $150 million of convertible bonds issued by ride-hailing startup Gojek, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed sources.

Telkomsel is a unit of the Indonesian government-owned PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia.

Bloomberg reported that details of any investment, or whether one even will occur, have yet to be worked out.

A Gojek spokesman declined comment to Bloomberg, and Telkomsel President Director Setyanto Hantoro told the publication that the company doesn’t comment on potential deals because of non-disclosure agreements.

Hantoro also said, according to Bloomberg, that the company is seeking opportunities to make acquisitions, including possibly of startups.

Tech in Asia reported that with 171 million subscribers, Telkomsel arguably is the largest wireless carrier across the Southeast Asian region.

Gojek has received funding in a Series F round from investors including Facebook, Google, PayPal and Tencent, Tech in Asia reported. Gojek rival Grab was in talks with Alibaba about a potential $3 billion investment.

In June, Gojek cut more than 400 jobs — about 9 percent of its workforce — in the wake of the business hit inflicted by the pandemic.

Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported that Grab investor Softbank was pushing for a deal between Gojek and Softbank.

Citing Bloomberg, a PYMNTS report at the time stated the companies had resumed discussing a merger after prior talks had come to an end six months earlier. Those talks reportedly broke down when investors including Softbank expressed concerns and the new talks reportedly resumed because Softbank is encouraging a deal. Some analysts have said a merger could result in a profitable company.

A Sept. 30 Asian telecomm market analysis by TechCrunch stated that one reason technology mergers in countries such as Indonesia have been relatively rare is that the markets are so huge that startups have ample room to grow on their own.

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