Peter Thiel-backed SPAC eyes merger with PropertyGuru: Report

Photo: PropertyGuru

Bridgetown 2 Holdings, the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) formed by billionaires Peter Thiel and Richard Li, is considering merging with Singapore-based online real estate portal PropertyGuru Group, according to a Bloomberg report.

The report, which quoted people with knowledge of the matter, said the SPAC’s discussions with PropertyGuru, which is backed by private equity giants KKR & Co and TPG, are ongoing and a potential deal could be announced as soon as July.

If the acquisition pushes through, the combined company could be valued at about $2 billion, the report added.

PropertyGuru, founded by entrepreneurs Steve Melhuish and Jani Rautiainen in 2007, scrapped plans for an initial public offering on the Australian stock exchange in 2019 on valuation concerns.

In March, the company was reported to be considering a US listing through a merger with a SPAC. Last year, it announced raising $200 million from TPG and KKR to accelerate its growth in its key markets, especially Malaysia and Vietnam.

Bridgetown 2 Holdings was formed by Thiel’s Thiel Capital and Li’s Pacific Century to target new economy technology, financial services, and media companies in Southeast Asia.

“We believe that Southeast Asia is entering a new era of economic growth, particularly in the new economy sectors, which we expect will result in attractive initial business combination opportunities for attractive risk-adjusted returns,” the SPAC said in its filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The SPAC raised about $300 million in a US IPO in January. The first Thiel-backed SPAC, Bridgetown Holdings Limited, raised $595 million in a US IPO in October, making it the biggest SPAC focused on Southeast Asia.

The first SPAC was reported in December to be considering a potential merger with Indonesia’s e-commerce giant PT Tokopedia.

Last month, Bridgetown Holdings launched a third blank cheque company that is now seeking to raise $260 million in an IPO in the US.

A SPAC is a shell company that raises money in an IPO and merges with a private company that will then be publicly traded.

SPACs have emerged as a popular alternative to IPOs for companies since last year, as it provides an easy path to go public with lesser regulatory scrutiny and more certainty on the valuation.

Grab, Southeast Asia’s ride-hailing giant, is also set for a listing in New York through a merger with a SPAC backed by Altimeter Capital Management in what could be the biggest SPAC merger so far.

Globally, SPACs have raised as much as $24.26 billion in January 2021 alone. The total amount raised by SPACs in 2020 was $79 billion, according to data compiled by DealStreetAsia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.