Malaysia’s Carsome raises $290m Series E round ahead of planned listing

Malaysia-headquartered auto marketplace Carsome announced on Monday that it has raised $290 million in a Series E funding.

This confirms a DealStreetAsia report in December that the company was raising more than $200 million for its pre-IPO round.

Carsome said the latest round, which raised its valuation to approximately $1.7 billion, was jointly led by SeaTown Holdings, Qatar Investment Authority and 65 Equity Partners. Both SeaTown and 65 Equity Partners are backed by Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings.

Other investors in the funding round also include Mediatek, Sunway, Gokongwei Group, YTL Group, and Taiwan Mobile, per the company statement.

The fresh funding will be used to further invest in people, products, and technology, and for regional expansion of Carsome’s retail brand, the company said.

Carsome is actively weighing its options for a US public listing this year, either via a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) or a traditional IPO, as reported by DealStreetAsia earlier, citing a source. The firm is understood to be ahead of its own timeline in terms of revenue and company readiness, and as such, is moving ahead with plans to list this year.

The fundraising also took place against the backdrop of a larger merger still underway between Carsome and ASX-listed iCar Asia. Both firms announced plans to combine forces back in July of last year, with an aim to complete the process by the end-2021. This deadline has since been pushed to February 2022, pending shareholder approvals.

Six-year-old Carsome’s competitors include SoftBank Vision Fund 2-backed Carro and OLX Auto in Indonesia, part of OLX Group, which runs global trading platforms.

SeaTown is a Temasek-backed investment firm focused on growth-stage opportunities globally. Its Southeast Asian portfolio companies include GoTo, formed by the merger of Indonesian unicorns Gojek and Tokopedia; and Cityneon Holdings, a Singapore experience entertainment firm that raised S$235 million ($177 million) in April.

DealStreetAsia earlier reported that SeaTown’s investment will be made out of its $1-billion private capital fund comprising a mix of equity and convertibles that will translate into equity upon IPO.

65 Equity Partners is a wholly-owned investment platform of Temasek that focuses on providing equity and structured capital solutions to established companies with regional or global aspirations, in Southeast Asia, Europe, and the United States.

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.