Airtel Africa, a subsidiary of India’s Bharti Airtel, has finally offloaded a minority stake in its mobile money business. The company was considering a sale in its mobile money arm in Africa, available in 14 countries, including Kenya, and Nigeria to raise more cash in February.
The minority stake, valued at $200 million, now belongs to The Rise Fund, a global impact investing platform owned by TPG, a global investment firm headquartered in San Francisco, California, and Fort Worth, Texas.
With the $200 million investment, Airtel Africa’s mobile money business, Airtel Mobile Commerce BV (AMC BV), is now valued at $2.65 billion. Airtel Africa continues to hold a majority stake, however.
The Rise Fund will provide the funds in two batches — $150 million first and then the remaining $50 million in a second round.
Airtel Africa will channel the cash towards investment in its network and sales infrastructure and reduce existing debt.
The telco is also looking to take its mobile money business public within the next four years.
“Our markets afford the substantial market potential for mobile money services to meet the needs of the tens of millions of customers in Africa who have little or no access to banking and financial services, and this demand is driving growth,” Airtel Africa CEO Raghunath Mandava said.
“With today’s announcement, we are pleased to welcome The Rise Fund as an investor in our mobile money business and as a partner to help us realise the full potential from the substantial opportunity to bank the unbanked across Africa.”
“We look forward to working with Airtel Africa to enhance their mobile money services, broaden its use cases, and grow into new markets,” said Yemi Lalude, Managing Partner, Africa for TPG and oversees TPG’s investments on the continent.