KWM advises Axiata Digital Services on a US$60 million alliance with SoftBank

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King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) has advised Axiata Digital Services (ADS) on the formation of an alliance with SoftBank Corp. (SoftBank), the largest independent digital, analytics, and marketing company in nine countries across South and Southeast Asia.

Pursuant to the agreement, SoftBank will invest approximately US$60 million in Axiata Digital Advertising (ADA), a subsidiary of Axiata Group Berhad and held by ADS, giving ADA an initial valuation of US$260 million. Post investment, Softbank will own 23% in ADA, with ADS remaining the majority shareholder with a 63% ownership stake.

SoftBank is a Fortune 500 telecommunications company with strong investment portfolio headquartered in Japan and, through its investment in ADA, will establish ADA as its core digital and data marketing partner in the region.

KWM Singapore Partner Jake Robson commented:

"We are thrilled to have advised Axiata Digital Services on this significant strategic business and capital partnership with telecommunications giant SoftBank, which will expand ADA's influence and reach in the digital and analytics space across the whole of Asia.

"As the world begins to emerge from the challenges of Covid-19, many global businesses are seeking digital solutions to improve their products and services. The alliance with SoftBank will enhance ADA's ability to develop cutting-edge AI and data analytic solutions to help businesses to pivot and unlock opportunities in the digital economy."

KWM advised on all aspects of the deal, including the fundraising from SoftBank and the terms of the shareholders' agreement between ADS, SoftBank and the existing minority shareholder Sumitomo Corporation.

Led by Jake Robson, the KWM team was also made up of Partner Nick Davies and Senior Associate Azlan Mohamed Noh.

This deal builds on the firm's work for Axiata Digital Services, and follows advice with respect to their 2020 restructure and US$70 million investment by Great Eastern.