KENYA – Kenyan digital payments platform, Cellulant has sold 44.04% to the US-based social impact investment firm, The Rise Fund, according to Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) filings.

The deal which was concluded in May last year, was valued at US$47.89 million and values the company at US$107.77 million, making it one of Kenya’s largest medium-sized enterprises, a Business Daily report has revealed.

The competition authority said it had approved the offer by The Rise Fund, a global investment fund and a subsidiary of TPG Growth, a US company that specialises in growth equity and middle-market buyouts.

“Competition Authority of Kenya excludes the proposed acquisition of 44.04 per cent of Cellulant Corporation by The Rise Fund Certify, L.P, from the provisions of Part IV of the Act due to the following reasons,” said CAK’s director-general, Wang’ombe Kariuki.

“The acquisition will not affect competition negatively, the [parties’] combined turnover of Sh844.5 million meets the threshold for exclusion under the Merger Threshold Guidelines.”

The Rise Fund made the investment in Cellulant together with Endeavor Catalyst, a co-investment fund that specializes in growth equity investments, and Satya Capital, an independent venture firm with a focus on African business.

Cellulant’s list of shareholders includes Velocity Capital Private Equity, Progression Capital Africa Limited and TBL Mirror Fund.

According to reports, Cellulant is planning to use the proceeds to expand into new markets in Africa as well as upgrade its payment infrastructure to suit emerging demands of the market.

It also plans to expand its operations in Nigeria where it is targeting 17 million farmers who have e-wallets on its Agrikore platform, a blockchain-based smart-contracting and marketplace system.

The US$47.89 million buy-out is said to be the highest raised by a Kenyan technology company in 2018, qualifying the firm to the list of the continent’s most valued early-stage tech companies which features the likes of Jumia.

Cellulant is a leading Pan-African payments company providing a one-stop digital payments platform anchored on consumer, internet & marketplace payments.