Yeah1 Group holds big market debut amid pricing controversy

June 27, 2018 | 12:33
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Digital media firm Yeah1 Group hit the VND300,000 ($13.12) ceiling at its first trading day yesterday, despite the on-going debate about its sky-high pricing.  
yeah1 group holds big market debut amid pricing controversy
Pricing controversy shrouds the market debut of Yeah1 Group

Yeah1 Group made history by becoming the first digital media company to float shares on Vietnam’s public market, which is usually dominated by banks, real estate developers, and manufacturers.

Approximately 27 million shares of Yeah1 Group, under the ticker YEG, started trading on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange this morning with the sky-high listing price of VND250,000 ($10.94). The shares soon climbed 20 per cent to hit the peak at VND300,000 ($13.12).

This record pricing made Yeah1’s shares the most expensive debut in Vietnam’s history, topping other high-profile transactions in recent years such as Vietjet Air, Vinhomes or Vincom Retail. All of these sellers priced their stock below VND100,000 ($4.38) per share upon debut.

That said, the Yeah1 debut is one-of-a-kind since it is the first digital media firm in Vietnam to list. As a result, the Vietnamese market has no benchmark for comparison and debate has broken out among investors over this price point.

According to Nguyen Anh Nhuong Tong, chairman of Yeah1 Group, the firm has worked closely with investors and advisors to come up with this offering price. The chairman said this high price point reflects investors’ belief in the long-term potential of Yeah1, which operates Vietnam’s largest ecosystem for digital media.

“Investors are betting on our growth potential in the next decade. We do not rely on natural resources or physical products—our biggest assets are our networks and people, which sets us apart from other listed companies and also leads to a different price valuation method,” he told VIR.

yeah1 group holds big market debut amid pricing controversy
Yeah1 Group prides itself as the leading digital advertiser and content producer

Representatives from Ho Chi Minh Securities, the deal advisor, said that digital media in Vietnam has enormous potential, as half of the population owns a smart phone and Internet connection is ubiquitous.

In an email interview with VIR, Hoang Duc Trung, deputy managing director of Venture Capital at VinaCapital, said that the success of Yeah1’s debut is testament to the growth of Vietnam’s digital technology industry. He believes more successes will “undoubtedly follow” and Yeah1 will venture further outside of Vietnam.

“We are thrilled that the company has grown from a humble beginning into one of Vietnam’s leading media and entertainment companies,” said the investor, who poured $1.4 million into Yeah1 in 2008.

“Since e-commerce and digital media are two of the fastest growing segments and media has always influenced consumers’ buying decisions, we can expect that Yeah1 will launch key media and commerce initiatives, called media-commerce, to help brands better target customers and help them make better buying decisions,” Trung noted.

Prior to the public debut, Yeah1 has raised $100 million from 25 overseas investors, including Thailand’s Central Group and another cornerstone investor from South Korea, who operates a major game platform.

The firm recently signed with Japan's AKS Company and Geo Brain to produce a Japanese-style girl group, as well as Universal Music for a new TV channel and online content.

yeah1 group holds big market debut amid pricing controversy
Yeah1 and Universal partnered up to produce and distribute entertainment content in Vietnam
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By Nam Phuong

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