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Ron Sim's R3 fund makes S$2m pre-IPO investment in mm2's Vividthree studio

SINGAPOREAN businessman Ron Sim's R3 Asian Gems fund is putting up S$2 million to become a pre-listing investor in mm2 Asia's virtual reality and visual effects studio.

R3's investment will give it a two-year mandatory convertible note in mm2's Vividthree Holdings, mm2 announced on the Singapore Exchange on Monday night.

If Vividthree lists within two years, the notes will convert into Vividthree shares upon listing at a conversion price pegged at a 15 per cent discount to the initial public offering (IPO) price. If the IPO does not happen by the notes' maturity, noteholders will receive the principal plus a sum equal to a 2 per cent annual coupon.

Vividthree has appointed Hong Leong Finance as the sponsor and issue manager for its planned Catalist listing.

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Vividthree Holdings is 51 per cent owned by mm2, with the remaining equally split between Vividthree's three founders. mm2 had said in January that the listing vehicle would be privately held Vividthree Productions, but clarified on Monday that the IPO will now be undertaken through Vividthree Holdings instead.

R3 Asian Gems is the flagship fund of R3 Asset Management, an investment firm sponsored and co-founded by Mr Sim, who also founded massage chair maker OSIM.

Earlier this month, Mr Sim and Brunei's Prince Abdul Qawi teamed up to buy a substantial stake in concert promotions and events company UnUsUaL for S$25.8 million. mm2 Asia's subsidiary UnUsUaL Management remains the largest shareholder of UnUsUaL.

R3 Asian Gems bought about 6.5 million UnUsUaL shares for S$3 million, representing a 0.63 per cent shareholding, while the prince acquired 49 million of those shares for S$22.8 million - a 4.76 per cent stake.

Executive chairman Melvin Ang said that the recent UnUsUaL acquisition by R3 is further proof "that the people who invest in us and the businesses in which we invest are bound by mutual interests".

"As a fund that focuses on identifying and supporting fast-growing companies in the region, R3 is proud to be able to join Vividthree on their journey towards creating and bringing entertaining VR experiences to urban dwellers in Asia," said James Koh, managing director of R3. "We believe Vividthree has a business model that fits the demographic opportunities and consumer behaviour in Asia, and a team with the right experience and expertise to execute it."

Shares of mm2 Asia closed at 49 Singapore cents on Monday, down 1 per cent of half a cent.