M17 secures $35m lifeline

M17 Entertainment, backed by MCN, Yahoo Japan and Singapore’s Vertex Ventures, rang the opening bell on the NYSE last week but never began trading.

M17 Entertainment, the Taiwan-based digital media company backed by corporates Yahoo Japan and Media Nusantara Citra (MCN), secured a $35m lifeline from investors on Wednesday after a failed attempt at going public.

The money was supplied by backers including Infinity Venture Partners, Majuven, Convergence and Global Grand Capital. It comes after M17 priced its shares last Friday and rang the bell on the New York Stock Exchange but failed to list without offering an explanation.

The company has now blamed “settlement issues” with unnamed investors. Jeffrey Huang, co-founder and non-executive chairman of M17, specifically called out underwriters Citi and Deutsche Bank in a since-deleted post on his official Facebook page, according to Bloomberg.

Formed through a 2016 merger, M17 operates dating and networking apps Paktor and Goodnight, and 17 Media, a livestreaming platform that had more than 33 million registered users by the end of March this year.

The company had priced more than 7.5 million American depositary shares at $8 each for a $60.1m initial public offering. The figure was nearly half of M17’s original target of $115m.

Paktor’s investors included media group MCN, internet company Yahoo Japan’s YJ Capital unit, Vertex Asia Fund, Global Grand Leisure, Majuven, Convergence Ventures, Golden Equator Capital, Sebrina Holdings and K2 Global. They had put in $52.5m before the merger.

LeSports Innovation Fund, a subsidiary of online streaming platform LeSports, invested $23m in 17 Media in 2016, after Infinity Venture Partners and entrepreneur Sicong Wang had supplied $10m in series A funding in 2015.

M17 obtained $40m in an August 2017 round led by Infinity Venture Partners that featured Yahoo Japan, the Singapore state-owned Vertex Ventures, Majuven, Golden Summit Capital and KTB Ventures.

None of the corporates featured among the list of large shareholders ahead of the planned IPO.

Shang-hsiu Koo, chief financial officer of M17, told Bloomberg: “We are very appreciative of our investors for providing the additional capital. Also wanted to thank the entire deal team for their hard work.

“However, given the delay, we felt it was best to remain private near term and focus on growing our business.”

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