Southeast Asia’s Grab sees $40b SPAC merger delayed to Q4

REUTERS/Iqro Rinaldi

Southeast Asian ride-hailing unicorn Grab says it expects to complete the merger with Altimeter Growth Corp special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) by the fourth quarter of this year.

The company had previously said it expected to complete the SPAC merger by July.

In a filing with the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), Grab says it is still finalising its financial audit for fiscal years 2018, 2019 and 2020 in accordance with SEC standards, and that it was working with the regulator to obtain “pre-clearance of certain accounting policies and related financial disclosures.”

Grab says that, as a result, its financials for these periods “remain subject to further review and revision.”

This development comes amid market volatility, and observations about the SPAC boom slowing down, as funding for the deals dry up.

Shares in Altimeter Growth Corp are trading near all-time lows at $11.61 as of June 9. The SPAC listed on Nasdaq last September, raising $450 million, and hit a high of $18 in January. Altimeter Capital had launched a second SPAC targeting tech companies. The NYSE-traded stock is also near all-time lows, having traded sideways for most of the last three months.

On its part, Grab is understood to have secured funding for its record $40 billion deal. More than three dozen investors have joined a private investment in public equity (PIPE) deal worth more than $4 billion in Grab. They include global investment majors such as BlackRock, Counterpoint Global, Fidelity International, Janus Henderson Investors, Mubadala, and Temasek Holdings.

In its SEC filing, Grab also highlighted that its financial services unit recorded a 17% increase in total payment volume in 1Q2021, from a year ago.

Its mobility unit, on the other hand, recorded gross merchandise value that was only 64% of the GMV recorded in the same quarter a year ago, owing to the pandemic’s disruptions.

The SPAC route has emerged as a popular alternative to IPOs for companies in Asia, as it provides a quicker path to the US capital markets, with lesser regulatory scrutiny, and more certainty on the valuation.

In a recent development, Singapore-based online real estate portal PropertyGuru is said to be a target for Bridgetown 2 Holdings, the SPAC formed by billionaires Peter Thiel and Richard Li. Thiel and Li have launched three SPACs targeting tech companies in 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.

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.