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Financial Times could be about to buy stake in Singapore-based media start-up Deal Street Asia

The Financial Times is said to be buying a stake in the Singapore-based Deal Street Asia website, according to a report in TechCrunch.

Quoting a source close to the deal, TechCrunch estimated it would include a capital investment and be worth at least $5million.

If this comes to fruition, it would be the Nikkei-owned FT’s second such investment in independent media owners in as many months. It acquired a majority stake in the Europe-based The Next Web in March.

Beginning operations in 2014 in Singapore, Deal Street Asia has been a news and intelligence platform that reports on investments, mergers, acquisitions, private equity, venture capital, investment banking and the business of startups across the Asian region.

It also organises events aimed at the private equity and venture capital community. A two day summit scheduled for September is priced as high as US $1,999 for delegate tickets.

Deal Street Asia was founded by Indian journalist Joji Thomas Philip – who has previous experience in financial papers like Mint, The Economic Times and Business Standard – and Sushobhan Mukherjee, an ex-advertising strategist who had worked with SapientNitro and JWT.

Among the current investors in Deal Street Asia are Singapore Press Holdings and Vijay Shekar Sharma, the founder of Alibaba-backed Indian digital wallet company PayTM, as well as the Singapore Angel Network and Indian media house the Hindustan Times group.

Led by FT’s parent company Nikkei, the investment is reportedly anywhere between one-third to as much as a 51% controlling stake. The FT issued an official denial to TechCrunch while Nikkei declined to respond.

The Financial Times and Nikkei have, however, signalled their interest in the region and the sector with the launch of a weekly newsletter called Tech Scroll Asia. In a statement on the launch, the FT’s global China editor James Kynge said: “Asia’s tech sector is absorbing more investment capital than anywhere else in the world with billions made, and lost every month.

“But Asia’s importance in tech extends well beyond the region and investors have taken note.

“With Tech Scroll Asia, we’ll guide our readers through this compelling story as it unfolds, revealing the key trends, winners, losers and disruptors on the Asia tech scene.”

The release detailing the launch of Tech Scroll Asia further said: “Tech Scroll Asia is the first initiative born out of a Nikkei FT innovation fund that provides up to £2 million in investment annually to support new strategic projects.

“It will support the FT’s efforts to drive long-term, quality subscriber engagement and growth in the US, a key growth market for the FT in the coming years.”

Mumbrella has reached out to Deal Street Asia and The Financial Times for a comment.

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