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VNG looking to raise $100 million in a fresh funding round

Vietnamese internet company VNG Corp, which is backed by Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC, is looking to raise $100 million in a fresh funding round, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter.

The Ho Chi Minh City-headquartered company, whose businesses include online games, payment, cloud services and the country’s most popular messaging app Zalo, is working with Maybank on the fundraising, according to one of the sources, who declined to be named.

Besides GIC, VNG also counts Singapore’s state investor Temasek Holdings and Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin and Raj Ganguly’s B Capital Group as backers.

VNG traded at an average price of 792,500 dong per share on Vietnam’s Unlisted Public Company Market or UPCoM on May 16, giving it a market value 28.4 trillion dong ($1.21 billion).

The firm has approached overseas funds and corporate investors to participate in the latest funding round and planned to use the proceeds for further expansions, the sources said.

After the fundraising concludes, VNG’s longer term plan is to go public on the Singapore Stock Exchange, the two sources said. One of the sources said the timing of the listing could be as early as next year.

The funding round comes at a time when internet and technology companies globally are facing fundraising challenges as investors have turned cautious amid macroeconomic uncertainties, rising interest rates and volatile public markets.

Payments processor Stripe in March raised $6.5 billion in a funding round at a sharply reduced valuation of $50 billion, down nearly 50 per cent from two years ago.

Founded in 2004, VNG was Vietnam’s first unicorn, or startup valued at $1 billion or more, and it inked a preliminary agreement in 2017 with U.S. bourse operator Nasdaq Inc to explore an IPO. It is not immediately clear if the company has proceeded with the Nasdaq IPO.

On Jan 5 this year, VNG floated 35.8 million shares on Hanoi Stock Exchange’s UPCoM with a reference price of 240,000 Vietnamese dong per share, giving it a valuation of around 8.59 trillion dong ($366.42 million) at that time. CNA

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