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Temasek allots US$500 million for impact investing in LeapFrog tie-up

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FILE PHOTO: Woman passes a logo of state investor Temasek Holdings at their office in Singapore

FILE PHOTO: A woman passes a logo of state investor Temasek Holdings at their office in Singapore on Jul 8, 2014. (Reuters/Edgar Su)


(Updated: )

SINGAPORE: Temasek Holdings is committing US$500 million to a partnership with private equity firm LeapFrog Investments, in what both companies said was the largest ever commitment to an impact investor.

The tie-up will take the form of a multi-fund investment by Temasek to anchor Asia and Africa-focused LeapFrog’s future funds, and the Singapore state investor will also acquire a minority stake in LeapFrog, they said in a joint statement on Tuesday (Mar 9).

Impact or socially responsible investing has gone mainstream in the last few years, moving beyond being a niche for development banks. It has attracted the likes of some of the world’s largest buyout funds including TPG, KKR and Blackstone.

“There is an urgent and pressing need to address the critical social and environmental challenges that the world is facing,” said Benoit Valentin, head of impact investing at Temasek.

“We believe in the potential of impact investing to unlock the capital to meet these challenges.”

Temasek’s latest move comes two years after its philanthropic arm set up a private equity fund for impact investing. LeapFrog and its investment process will continue to be managed and controlled by its team of partners.

With the latest funding, LeapFrog says it will have received more than US$2 billion from global institutional investors since it was founded in 2007.

“We will continue to open the gates of the capital markets to purpose-driven businesses,” said Andy Kuper, founder and CEO of LeapFrog.

The firm said its companies now reach more than 210 million people with healthcare or financial services, with the majority being low-income consumers.

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