UPDATE 2-CIMB's e-wallet venture with Ant Group to close fundraising by mid-year

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 29 (Reuters) - The e-wallet business operated by Malaysian bank CIMB Group’s financial technology unit is looking to close by around mid-year a fundraising in a joint venture with China’s Ant Group, the unit’s chief said in a press briefing on Monday.

Reuters reported in January that the joint venture, TNG Digital, was in advanced talks with investors to raise at least $150 million to fund expansion plans, at a valuation of more than $700 million.

Effendy Shahul Hamid, Group Chief Executive Officer of Touch ‘n Go Sdn Bhd, told a virtual briefing that talks have been positive and the group has not finalised the amount to be raised.

“We haven’t really figured out what levels we’re going to stop the fundraising at, but we certainly have very positive traction from a combination of corporates and also private equity funds,” he said.

Touch ‘n Go Sdn Bhd, which is wholly-owned by CIMB Group, owns 51% of TNG Digital while Ant Group holds 49%.

Touch ‘n Go is also evaluating potential digital bank joint ventures, but has no plans to pursue public offerings, Effendy said. (Reporting by Liz Lee; Editing by Christian Schmollinger, Muralikumar Anantharaman and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)