Serial article regarding M&A on NNA (vol.90)

In the last issue, we introduced two M&A deals by Japanese companies announced in 2022 (JCB’s investment in a fintech company and Yoshinoya’s exit deal). Continuing from last issue, we would like to introduce two M&A deals by Japanese companies.

1. ITOCHU Invests in Price Comparison Site Operator 

On March 23, 2022, ITOCHU announced its investment in iPrice, a Malaysian operator of a price comparison website. On the same day, Global Brain also announced that it had invested in iPrice through the KDDI Open Innovation Fund III, in which it participates as a general partner. 

According to the ITOCHU’s press release dated March 23, 2022, iPrice was established in Kuala Lumpur in 2014 and is engaged in the development and operation of online price comparison and coupon sites and mobile applications, and operates the largest price comparison site in seven countries and regions in Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. The company’s comparison site has established its position as a leading company in Southeast Asia because not only to access to information on more than 7 billion products by more than 8 million stall holders, but also its unique algorithm using machine learning instantly and automatically optimizes the display of products. They are strengthening the payment functions within the comparison site through partnerships with financial companies and other companies in Southeast Asian countries.

While there are various price comparison sites in Japan, perhaps due in part to the country’s youth, Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries have a higher smartphone penetration rate than Japan, and EC is used on a daily basis. On the other hand, the percentage of credit card payments is low, and the use of post-payment is growing rapidly with an annual growth rate of 25%. In this context, ITOCHU also announced that it has concluded a partnership agreement for settlement functions between iPrice and PT. ITC Auto Multi Finance, a wholly owned subsidiary that provides post-payment settlement services for cell phone buyers in Indonesia. 

2.Partially funded by CellSource for a fertility support website 

CellSource is a bio-venture that serves a platform for regenerative medicine, providing support for legal compliance, development of new treatments in collaboration with medical and research institutions, and contract processing. It’s Listed on the Mothers section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, with a market capitalization of approximately 49.3 billion yen as of March 25. 

On February 24, 2022, CellSource announced its investment in Lumirous, a fertility support business in Malaysia. According to the press release by CellSource dated February 24, 2022, Lumirous was established in Kuala Lumpur in 2020 by a Japanese to provide fertility support services to couples wishing to conceive and to send them to fertility clinics in Malaysia. Lumirous has partnered with major fertility clinics in Malaysia, and plans to use the funds raised to strengthen its marketing and expand its network of partner clinics. 

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