Dialog Axiata acquires Wow.lk, Ardent Capital exits its first portfolio startup
By Digital News Asia October 8, 2015
- Dialog Axiata ups its 45.71% stake to 100%
- Wow.lk, formerly Anything.lk, catalysed the industry in Sri Lanka
ARDENT Capital has announced that its Sri Lanka-based e-commerce portfolio company Wow.lk (formerly Anything.lk) after Dialog Axiata increased its stake of Wow.lk’s operating company, Digital Commerce Lanka Pvt (DCL), to 100%.
Dialog, which previously owned 45.71% of DCL, paid an additional 247.9 million rupees (US$1.8 million) to buy all of the remaining shares, Ardent Capital said in a statement.
The deal comes nearly three years after Dialog initially purchased a 26% entry stake of Anything.lk for US$1.59 million.
The 2012 joint venture merged several of Sri Lanka’s top e-commerce sites owned by Dialog, including iBuy.lk and Tradenet.lk, into the brand Wow.lk/Anything.lk – ultimately making DCL Sri Lanka’s largest daily deals site and online mall, Ardent Capital said.
Wow.lk (at the time Anything.lk) was Bangkok-headquartered Ardent Capital’s first portfolio investment and began as a daily deals service before evolving into an online retail model.
Ardent Capital itself was founded in 2012 as an early-stage venture fund. Its past investments include aCommerce, Moxy, Bizzy, Snapcart, Salestock, HappyFresh, Floship and Shopline.
Dialog is Sri Lanka’s flagship telecommunications service provider, and a subsidiary of Kuala Lumpur-based Axiata Group Bhd.
“Founded in 2011, Anything.lk was the catalyst for a whole new industry, and changed the face of daily deals and retailing in Sri Lanka,” said its cofounder Reeza Zarook, also the former chief executive officer of DCL.
“The business disrupted the status quo of standard above the line marketing and challenged the authorised distributor model of many established retailers.
“The result was to provide consumers with lower prices and greater knowledge to enhance their purchasing experience,” he claimed.
“The fact that there are in excess of 50 standalone e-commerce sites today, not to mention traditional brick and mortar business with e-commerce divisions, demonstrates the permanent change that came about from Anything.lk’s existence,” he added.
Wowl.lk now includes a staff of approximately 100 employees and claims to be the current market leader in Sri Lanka’s daily deals and online mall business.
“Wow.lk is a perfect example of how a big player in a smaller market can be involved in multiple business verticals successfully,” said Ardent Capital chief executive officer Adrian Vanzyl (pic).
“In Sri Lanka, the market was and still is nascent in the sense that consumers like to have the option of using e-commerce combined with a physical offering as well.
“The synergies provided by this deal drive this concept and help set a solid growth projection for e-commerce in Sri Lanka,” he added.
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