Carsome acquires auto websites WapCar, AutoFun 

Photo: WapCar.

Malaysia-based used car marketplace Carsome has acquired Malaysian digital automotive content producer WapCar and its sister website Autofun for an undisclosed sum.

WapCar and AutoFun will become a subsidiary named WapCar AutoFun under Carsome after the acquisition is complete. The vehicle content platform was set up in 2019 and runs several websites and social media channels in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam.

The websites produce both in-house and user-generated content about vehicles to help customers in Southeast Asia find the right car. WapCar claims to have an average of over 1,400 article write-ups and 100 videos on a monthly basis across YouTube and TikTok channels in 2021, attracting millions of viewers and readers. It had over six million average monthly active users in the last quarter of 2021, the company said.

Carsome said the acquisition will help it draw more customers “from their early stage of car exploration”.

“We believe our collaboration through content, technology and data will augment our ability to bring trust, transparency and choice to customers together,” Carsome co-founder and chief executive Eric Cheng said.

Carsome’s acquisition of WapCar comes about two months after it bought Singapore-based used car dealer CarTimes, and about nine months after it announced its acquisition of ASX-listed used car platform iCar Asia from Catcha Group in a deal reportedly worth $200 million. The iCar deal was closed in February this year.

Carsome, a unicorn valued over $1 billion, is reportedly looking to raise $300-400 million at a valuation of about $2 billion for its upcoming IPO and has confidentially filed for the IPO with Nasdaq in the US, DealStreetAsia previously reported.

It is also considering a dual listing and eyeing the Singapore Exchange (SGX) — a move said to have been encouraged by its key investor, Temasek’s, 65 Equity Partners.

Other investors in Carsome, founded in 2015, include SeaTown Holdings, Qatar Investment Authority,  Mediatek, Sunway, Gokongwei Group and YTL Group.

In Southeast Asia, Carsome’s competitors include Singapore-based Carro, which last raised $100 million from investors including Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings and Malaysian state-backed fund manager Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) in November.

The company’s regional competitors would be the likes of Indonesia’s Moladin backed by Northstar Group and Sequoia India; OLX Auto (formerly Belimobilgue); and Carousell Auto Group, the car business unit of Singapore-based online classifieds firm Carousell.

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