Chinese multinational conglomerate, Tencent Holding Limited has acquired Iflix, a free and subscription video-on-demand service based in Malaysia focused on emerging markets at an undisclosed deal. Reportedly, the Iflix acquisition is driven by the fact that the company is looking forward to expanding its own WeTV into the region, hence includes its “content, technology, and resources”.
Last year, Tencent Video had released WeTV in Thailand broadcasting original Chinese contents with Thai dubbing alongside contents in collaboration with local partners. WeTV operates in other countries including Indonesia and the Philippines.
About the acquisition, Tencent stated, “Through the purchase, WeTV will further extend our presence in the video streaming industry across Southeast Asia to reach a broader audience base within the region and to better serve our users with a better viewing experience.” Also, the company believes the purchase to provide contemporary WeTV consumers with a variety of original, local, and international content.
Even after this deal, a majority of existing Iflix staff will keep their roles in the company. Tencent said, “Our current priority is to ensure smooth integration with our existing business and also talent retention.”
About Iflix, the service initiated in the year 2014 and went after the likes of Netflix while operating in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Brunei, the Maldives, Pakistan, Myanmar, Cambodia, Nepal, and Bangladesh. It reported 25 million+ monthly active users as of April 2020. However, the company did consider itself to be sold in order to prevent “financial distress”. Several Chinese companies, in turn, showed interest in the acquisition.
Prior to the sell-out, Iflix bagged in US$348 million funds, the newest which was in July 2019 raising US$50 million before the most likely initial public offering. It even postponed the plan to release an IPO in Australia in order to bank in further funds. Later, it appointed two principals from investment fund Mandala Asset Solutions in the board of directors while the early co-founders Luke Elliott and Patrick Grove left.