Singapore's Grab to Go Public in World's Biggest $40B SPAC Merger

Other featured stories include: Peddlr App to Help Philippine Micro and Small Businesses; Naver Invests $150M in Indonesia’s Top Media Group, Emtek; and SPC Group Accelerating Expansion in Southeast Asia, Looks to Malaysia as New Production Hub.

Singapore's Grab to Go Public in World's Biggest $40B SPAC Merger

Grab Holdings, the largest ride-hailing and food delivery firm in Southeast Asia, has confirmed a merger with special-purpose acquisition company Altimeter Growth Corp, securing a valuation of nearly $40 billion and paving the way for a U.S. listing.

As part of the merger, the biggest blank-check company deal ever, investors such as Temasek Holdings, BlackRock, Fidelity International, Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala and Malaysia’s Permodalan Nasional Bhd will participate in a $4 billion private investment in public equity offering.

Funds managed by Altimeter Capital will lead the investment with $750 million.

“Institutional investors looking for Asian consumer internet exposure are keen to diversify their allocation beyond a handful of companies,” said Varun Mittal, head of emerging markets fintech business at consultancy EY.

With operations in eight countries and over 400 cities, Grab is Southeast Asia’s most valuable start-up. Leveraging its ride-hailing business, it has moved into food and grocery deliveries, courier services, digital payments, and is now making a push into insurance and lending in a region of 650 million people. Grab said its decision to become a public company was driven by a strong financial performance last year.

The company reported adjusted net revenue of $1.6 billion in 2020 and forecasts this to rise to $4.5 billion in 2023. It expects to turn positive on an earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization basis in 2023.

Altimeter Growth and Grab will become fully-owned subsidiaries of a new holding company, which is expected to be valued at $39.6 billion on an initial pro forma equity basis.

“Southeast Asia is one of the fastest growing digital economies in the world, with a population approximately twice the size of the United States. Yet online penetration for food delivery, on-demand mobility and electronic transactions are a fraction of the U.S. and China,” said Brad Gerstner, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Silicon Valley-based Altimeter.The transactions will provide Grab with about $4.5 billion in cash proceeds.

The deals, which have been approved by the boards of both Grab and Altimeter Growth, are aimed to close by July.

“Grab is now synonymous with Southeast Asia’s exciting growth story,” said Greg Moon, managing partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers.

Peddlr App to Help Philippine Micro and Small Businesses

Peddlr, a free-to-use mobile application developed by Eastern Visayas homegrown startup company, will soon become a smart tool for more than 6.9 million registered and unregistered small businesses in the Philippines. 

Nel Laygo, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Peddlr Philippines Inc., explained they developed the smart POS (Point of Sale) app to assist small and micro business in recording sales, log expenses and understand business performance:

“Most of the businesses still use pen and paper in their businesses, which is not only time-consuming but also inefficient. With Peddlr, they will be at par with big businesses with their own POS [...] One of the challenges of businesses is recording their sales, inventory, and even compiling reports. We developed Peddlr, a mobile app to do all of that and more.” 

Sunstar reports that Peddlr Philippines Inc. has also developed the app to help around 50,000 small businessmen in Eastern Visayas, allowing them to “generate easy-to-understand accounting reports and other data.”

“Normally a POS device costs around P30,000 to P90,000 which is the main reason why small and micro businesses have lower technology adoption rate. They can’t afford it [...] With the pandemic still ongoing, businesses are discovering going online and mobile, and we’re here to help them shift to this new tech. In fact, Peddlr is now top one in Google searches, in the App Store and also in GooglePlay, so I think we’re on the right track.” added Laygo. 

Aiko Reyes, Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder, explained their main goal is to jumpstart Philippine micro and small businesses into the digital world and place them at the heart of economic recovery for 2021 and beyond.

Naver Invests $150M in Indonesia’s Top Media Group, Emtek

South Korea’s online platform giant Naver Corp. has invested $150 million in Elang Mahkota Teknologi (Emtek), Indonesia’s largest technology, telecom and media conglomerate, to build its operations in the Southeast Asian region.

Naver explained the equity investment is aimed at jointly finding new growth opportunities in Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, with its regional partners.

“Through the strategic partnership with Emtek, we will create synergy in various areas. Together with our partners in Southeast Asia, Naver will take Asian business models to the global stage,” said Lee Jung-an, Head of Corporate Development and Investment at Naver.

The Korea Economy Daily reports that Emtek is Indonesia’s ninth-largest business conglomerate with about $10 billion in market capitalization. Established in 1983, Emtek owns Vidio, one of the country’s largest over-the-top (OTT) service providers, in addition to multiple national and local broadcast channels. The conglomerate’s other businesses include original content production and distribution, payments, e-commerce and cloud.

Naver has been aggressively investing in promising startups and businesses in Southeast Asia, where the online business growth potential is greater than in other regions. In March 2020, Naver, with its subsidiary Line Corp., invested over $10 million into the Malaysia-based online shopping platform iPrice through a growth fund it set up with Mirae Asset Daewoo Co.

SPC Group Accelerating Expansion in Southeast Asia, Looks to Malaysia as New Production Hub

South Korean food and confectionery conglomerate SPC Group is moving forward with advancing business in the Southeast Asian market.

Ani News reports that SPC Group is now planning to build global production facilities in Malaysia. In addition to launching its popular bakery chain Paris Baguette in Malaysia, the conglomerate plans to pursue various businesses in the region such as supplying raw materials for SPC GFS Co Ltd. (SPC Group's subsidiary specializing in food distribution) and launch Samlip General Food Co Ltd.'s local business.

SPC Group's plans involve utilizing Malaysia as a production hub in Southeast Asia, in addition to plans to carry out a variety of businesses like establishing business in local markets of the area. Malaysia is commonly considered as a hub for entering the halal food market, which sells food products that Muslims can consume and use. To successfully settle in the Southeast Asian market, being successful in targeting the Malaysian market is vital.

Until now, SPC Group has been using Singapore as its advanced base to enter Southeast Asian markets such as Vietnam and Cambodia and has been actively doing business in the regions. To take a step further, however, the South Korean food and confectionery maker has chosen Malaysia to further grow its presence in Southeast Asia.

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