SoftBank-backed Grab weighs US IPO through SPAC merger

Grab Holdings Inc. is exploring going public in the U.S. through a merger with a blank-check company as the Southeast Asian ride-hailing and delivery giant seeks to expedite its listing process, according to people familiar with the matter.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley, which are already advising Grab on its initial public offering plans, are working with the startup to identify special purpose acquisition companies that it could combine with, the people said. Still, a U.S. listing via a traditional IPO isn’t off the table, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the discussions are private.

Representatives for Grab and JPMorgan declined to comment, while a representative for Morgan Stanley didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Merging with a SPAC, a shell company whose sponsors raise money from investors in order to buy a private company and give it a berth on a public exchange would allow Grab — Southeast Asia’s most valuable startup backed by SoftBank Group Corp. — to accelerate its listing process. Several of the region’s tech unicorns including Traveloka are considering going public through blank-check companies to ride on the red-hot sentiment.

Sea Ltd.’s decade-long journey from a scrappy startup to Southeast Asia’s most valuable company has inspired many internet companies in the region to tap the capital markets to bankroll their expansion. Singapore-based Sea, which runs mobile gaming and e-commerce businesses, went public in the U.S. in 2017 after raising $989 million and now has a market value of $117 billion.

Grab’s listing considerations come after talks to combine with Indonesian rival Gojek collapsed. The latter startup is now in advanced discussions to merge with local e-commerce pioneer PT Tokopedia instead, creating a powerful player in online services that may then seek to go public as well, Bloomberg News has reported.

Bloomberg

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.