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Global Yellow Pages acquires majority stake in blockchain proptech firm FundPlaces

GLOBAL Yellow Pages (GYP) on Friday said that its subsidiary has entered into a conditional agreement to invest in proptech company FundPlaces by subscribing for new shares representing about 50.11 per cent of the company for S$2.004 million.

FundPlaces uses blockchain technology to operate an online platform which allows investors to invest in the development, financing and ownership of real estate projects globally.

In its filing to the Singapore Exchange, GYP said that it plans to seek additional investors to invest alongside the company for the proposed subscription by getting these additional investors to obtain a stake in its subsidiary.

"In the interests of time and to avail itself of this strategic opportunity to invest in FundPlaces ... the company has decided to first proceed with the proposed subscription," it said.

After completing the first tranche subscription (for about S$500,000), it plans to get more investors in before the completion of the second and subsequent tranches of subscription.

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Before GYP's subscription, the sole shareholder of FundPlaces was Rems Advisors, a Singapore-incorporated company which engages in real estate research and consultancy services, part owned by the co-founders of FundPlaces, Brian Wee and Tan Kok Keong.

GYP said that the investment is part of its strategy to further develop its core property business, which includes activities such as property-related investments, property development and management.

The company had obtained a diversification mandate from shareholders to diversify into the property business in 2015, and since then has completed the acquisitions of Pakuranga Plaza and a plot of freehold land at Queenstown, New Zealand, as well as obtained a conditional resource consent from the Queenstown Lakes District Council to build 225 residential dwellings and associated infrastructure and siteworks on the Queenstown land.

This year, GYP also entered into a conditional agreement to buy a plot of land in Papakura, New Zealand, which if completed, would be the group's third purchase of real estate.

"Having a strategic stake in FundPlaces through the proposed subscription would allow the group to continually leverage on the FundPlaces platform as an additional avenue for the group to raise funds for its property development projects, which would synergistically benefit and complement the group's property business," it said.

GYP added that it also sees significant potential in the FundPlaces platform in light of the shift of global business trends towards advancements in the technological and digital sphere.

On the completion of the first tranche subscription, GYP's subsidiary and Rems will enter into a shareholders' agreement which includes terms such as that each side will be entitled to appoint two directors each to the board of FundPlaces.

GYP's subsidiary will be entitled to appoint the chairman of the board, who shall have a casting vote at any board meeting in the event of an equality of votes.

Under the agreement, Rems will also agree not to dispose of its shares in FundPlaces prior to an initial public offering of the shares in FundPlaces.

GYP plans to finance the share subscription using internal funds and/or bank borrowings.

Its counter rose 1.4 per cent or 0.2 Singapore cent to S$0.146 on the stock market.

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