Singapore-based global consumer internet company Sea Ltd. has reportedly acquired the Jakarta-based Bank Kesejahteraan Ekonomi. Sources who requested not to be named revealed that Sea has already obtained full ownership and control of the Indonesian bank that is also known as Bank BKE.

Bank BKE and Sea have not released details about the acquisition as of press time. However, according to sources cited in a Bloomberg report, Sea has bought the shares of shareholders Koin Investama Nusantara and Danadipa Artha Indonesia. The transaction was completed through Sea subsidiary Turbo Cash Hong Kong Ltd.

Bank BKE is a commercial bank that started operating in 1992. It initially offered services for the benefit of civil servants but it has since grown its range of services to include SMS and online banking, loans, and investment products.

With this acquisition, Sea, which is regarded as Southeast Asia’s most valuable company, strengthens its foothold in the FinTech sector. The company is inching closer towards its goal of becoming the financial technology leader in the ASEAN region.

In December last year, the Sea Group’s application for a digital bank license was approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, allowing Sea to have the distinction of owning one of the first four digital banks in Singapore, together with Ant Group and the consortiums led by Grab and Greenland Financial.

Singapore now has 4 digital banks after MAS grants licences to Grab-Singtel, Sea Group, Ant Group, and Greenland Financial

Sea is already one of the prominent players in the ASEAN FinTech sector. Its digital payment and financial service SeaMoney is considered as one of the leading digital payment systems in Southeast Asia. It provides payment processing, mobile wallet, and other digital financial services. The company also owns the popular e-commerce platform Shopee, which has a payment system called ShopeePay.

Sea’s major business expansion moves are not unexpected considering how it got a boost from COVID-19. As economies across Southeast Asia embraced digital commerce, the company saw its revenues nearly doubled in 2020, compared to 2019 figures.

In its third-quarter financial report, Sea revealed that its digital financial services have seen strong growth. The company’s mobile wallet transaction volume for the third quarter surpassed the $2 billion level. Also, the mobile wallet’s number of paying users for the quarter exceeded 17.8 million.

Because of the sustained improvements in the company’s operating results from the first through the third quarters, Sea raised their guidance for the full 2020 annual performance. The company expects revenues from e-commerce for the full 2020 to more than double.

Sea Group set to secure up to $2.6B through American depositary share offering


More than a month ago, Sea Group raised $2.6 billion through a depositary share offering. The company said in a statement that they plan to use the fundraising proceeds for business expansion and general corporate purposes, which include possible strategic acquisitions and investments. The acquisition of Bank BKE is apparently the first strategic business action of the Sea Group as the new year starts.