Ride-hailing giants Gojek and Grab are in a close race to become an investor in Indonesian digital payment platform LinkAja, according to sources familiar with the matter.
"For Gojek it's about beating Grab. If Ovo and Dana merge, they will be in a strong position against GoPay," one of the four sources said, referring to a possible consolidation of two of Gojek's competitors, a fear in part fueling the firm's desire to expand in the payments sector.
LinkAja is an integrated e-wallet service backed by state-owned Telkomsel, as well as the lenders Bank Mandiri, BRI, and BNI. Investment manager PT Danareksa, oil and gas firm Pertamina, and the insurer Jiwasraya also hold an interest in the company.
Currently, LinkAja is in the process of raising new funding, targeting USD 200 million in a Series B round. Besides the existing investors, the firm is looking for outside capital from institutions with a strong network that can help boost the use of e-wallets.
Discussions between the parties are ongoing. Yet, LinkAja has only a narrow time window as it might be running out of cash come September or October.
The sources, who spoke with KrASIA in a recent interview, separately revealed that the best offer will get the coveted investment. Currently, Grab seems to have presented the higher price and Gojek some form of share swap. Gojek, however, is better connected to decision makers and the administration in Jakarta.
Besides Grab and Gojek, SEA Group is also interested in a bid, but didn't put enough money on the table, according to one source.
Grab, Gojek, and LinkAja declined to comment.
There are 37 local e-payment wallets in Indonesia, but GoPay, Ovo, Dana, and LinkAja have become the frontrunners of the industry. The battle for LinkAja will likely pave the way for the dominant e-payment competitor in Southeast Asia’s largest economy.
Ovo, which is backed by SoftBank, is reportedly close to merging with Dana, which has Ant Financial behind it. Gojek, meanwhile, recently received investment from Facebook and PayPal and is looking for another vehicle to boost its payment system.