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Altimeter nabs Grab

April 13, 2021, 2:53 PM UTC

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Here it is.

Singapore-based ride-hailing startup Grab officially announced plans to go public via merger with Altimeter Growth, a special purpose acquisition company backed by Altimeter Capital Management

Highly anticipated following a report from the Wall Street Journal, the merger with the SPAC will value Grab at about $39.6 billion on a pro-forma basis—the largest merger with a blank check company to date. Grab is also raising over $4 billion as part of the merger from a roster of the usual mega-SPAC and -IPO investors including BlackRock, Fidelity, and T. Rowe Price.

On the surface, Grab is a ride-hailing company. But under the hood, the company has made itself Southeast Asia’s most valuable startup with quite literally so much more. The company is one of the so-called superapps offering grocery delivery, mortgages, and digital healthcare, creating a one-stop shop that has attracted investors including SoftBank, Uber, GGV, and Alibaba. 

In a press release, Grab CEO Anthony Tan attributed the company’s ability to weather the coronavirus pandemic to its superapp status: “Our diversified superapp strategy helped our driver partners pivot to deliveries, and enabled us to deliver growth while improving profitability,” he said.

Adjusted revenue grew 60% in 2020 to $1.6 billion, a slowdown from the year prior when the company’s revenue more than doubled. The company has also yet to post a profit, with EBITDA clocking in at a negative $800 million compared to loss of $2.3 billion the year before.

For Grab, the merger with Altimeter Growth marks a conclusion to a high-profile dealmaking dance. The Southeast Asian company had been in on-and-off talks with competitor Gojek for roughly a year over a potential merger before those discussions collapsed as Gojek sought to combine with e-commerce company Tokopedia instead. Grab also considered an IPO.

Altimeter, though, is making clear that it’s no short-term investor in the stock. It committed to a three-year lockup period on its sponsor promote shares as a part of the deal.

Lucinda Shen
Twitter: @shenlucinda


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