Sea seizes 82 per cent of Foody

Sea, formerly known as Garena, was rumoured to have successfully bought 82 per cent of Foody’s shares, officially becoming the largest shareholder of the Vietnamese gourmet application.

Vietnamese startup success story Foody has likely been acquired by Sea, formerly known as Garena

According to newswire Deal Street Asia, rumour has it Southeast Asia’s Sea Ltd., spent $64 million purchasing shares of a Vietnam-based company that provides restaurant reviews and supports customers on their quest to find memorable culinary experiences.

In late September, according to the national business registration system, foreign-owned firm Airview Investment, Sea’s official contact entity in Singapore, acquired a total of 415,652 public shares of Foody, approximately 82 per cent.

However, both Sea and Foody have not yet confirmed this information.

Given the past relations between Singaporean and Vietnamese companies in the e-commerce industry, the aforementioned company is likely to be Foody.

Earlier, in 2016, Sea also made its way into the Southeast Asia by pouring investment in Hanoi-based flash deal startup Jamja.vn.

In May 2017, Sea raised a hefty $550 million in series E funding and was re-branded to Sea Limited.

“We intend to take advantage of investment opportunities and purchase strategies to develop customer database, enhancing market penetration and continuing to complement subsidiary services and products,” Sea’s spokesperson noted.

At the time, the rebranding decision was the outcome of Sea’s strategy of business diversification and expansion in order to compete with other e-commerce giants like Lazada (backed by Alibaba) and Amazon, which has been hinting at penetrating the same target region.

Meanwhile, the acquisition of Foody could also expand Airpay, the company’s online payment platform. Another Foody operation, DeliveryNow, is utilising the Airpay’s platform. The financial services platform was introduced in Vietnam in 2014.

To date, the company’s portfolio includes the Garena platform, Airpay, and online shopping application Shopee, all of which have been introduced in Vietnam.

“Our capability of penetrating the Greater Southeast Asia market is still fairly limited due to the number of subscribers and our share of discretionary consumer purchases. We also believe that expanding our trademark will deepen our moats to defend the company’s position in the e-commerce market,” Sea’s representative shared with Deal Street Asia.

Greater Southeast Asia implies the seven e-commerce markets of Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

Sea raised series B funding (expanding market reach) in Foody in July 2015.

Founded in 2012, Foody is one of the most successful start-up stories in Vietnam. Meanwhile, Tiger Global Management raised series C funding (injecting capital into the business to gain more profit) at the same time as Sea.

Garena invests in Foody.vn

Garena invests in Foody.vn

Garena, a Singaporean consumer internet platform provider, poured capital into Foody.vn, a website that helps customers find and rate entertainment venues and restaurants in Viet Nam.

Foody displays big appetite

Foody displays big appetite

Vietnamese start-up company Foody has been added to Japan’s CyberAgent Ventures portfolio, to increase its venture investments in Vietnam.

By Sam Luong