SoftBank-backed Seize agrees to deal to go public in world’s largest SPAC merger


A pedestrian walks previous a signage for Seize in Singapore on April 26, 2018.

Paul Miller | Bloomberg | Getty Pictures

Southeast Asia’s ride-hailing big Seize introduced Tuesday that it is set to go public via a SPAC merger with Altimeter Development Corp., in a deal that values the corporate at $39.6 billion — the most important blank-check merger so far.

Seize says it intends to listing on the Nasdaq below ticker image “GRAB” following the deal’s completion.

SPACs, or particular function acquisition corporations, are shell corporations or blank-check corporations arrange for the aim of elevating capital to amass non-public corporations. A SPAC itemizing bypasses Wall Avenue’s conventional IPO course of.

As a part of the mega-deal, SoftBank-backed Seize will obtain about $4.5 billion in money, which incorporates $4 billion in a personal funding in public fairness (PIPE), managed by BlackRock, Constancy, T. Rowe Worth, Morgan Stanley’s Counterpoint International fund and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund Temasek. PIPEs are mechanisms for corporations to lift capital from a choose group of traders that make the ultimate market debut doable via their financing.

Seize — most not too long ago ranked No. 16 on final yr’s CNBC Disruptor 50 listing — delivers an array of digital providers corresponding to transportation, meals supply, resort bookings, on-line banking, cellular funds and insurance coverage providers from its app. The Singapore-based firm has operations all through most of Southeast Asia, and serves greater than 187 million customers in over 350 cities throughout eight international locations.

Whereas SPACs have turn out to be a sizzling funding car on Wall Avenue, they’re additionally gaining traction in Asia with six regional-focused SPAC corporations which have collectively raised $2.7 billion to date in 2021.

However within the first quarter this yr, capital raised by blank-check corporations like Altimeter has already outpaced 2020’s complete issuance. It isn’t solely drawn the eye of the U.S. Securities and Change Fee, but additionally traders who’re petrified of a market bubble.

Nonetheless, new offers proceed to flood the market — greater than 100 in March alone, in accordance with SPAC Analysis.

Whereas Seize’s merger stays record-setting, Boston-based biotech firm Ginkgo Bioworks, ranked No. 44 on final yr’s CNBC Disruptor 50 listing, is claimed to be contemplating an equally-massive $20 billion blank-check merger of its personal, in accordance with Bloomberg.

All through the pandemic, Southeast Asia noticed a surge in using digital providers like e-commerce, meals supply and on-line cost. As many as 40 million individuals in six international locations throughout the area — Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand — got here on-line for the primary time in 2020, in accordance with a report from Google, Temasek Holdings and Bain & Firm.

Nonetheless, Covid-19 has pressured regional non-public market decacorns (start-ups valued at greater than $10 billion) to chop workers and rethink what’s going to outline a dominant “tremendous app” suite of on-demand providers. It is also intensified the aggressive panorama in an already saturated market that is confirmed troublesome to show a revenue.

After a interval of intense and costly competitors by Uber to dominate rideshare in lots of markets, Indonesian rival Gojek bought its Southeast Asia enterprise to Seize three years in the past in return for Uber receiving a stake within the firm.

In January, Reuters reported that Seize’s internet income had grown 70% yr over yr, recovering to pre-pandemic ranges with its ride-hailing enterprise breaking even in all working markets, together with its largest, Indonesia.

Seize and Gojek have been reportedly near finalizing a merger of their very own late final yr.

Reuters reported that Gojek — which is ranked No. 10 on final yr’s CNBC Disruptor 50 listing — is now in superior talks with Indonesian e-commerce chief Tokopedia for an $18 billion merger, forward of a possible twin itemizing in Jakarta and the U.S.



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