Ride hailing and food delivery firm Grab today finalised a merger with Altimeter Growth to go public in the US at a valuation of just under $40bn (£29bn).
The tie-up represents the largest ever Spac (special purpose acquisition company) deal ever made amid a frenzy of blank cheque deals on Wall Street.
The Singapore-based startup, which also offers payment services, said the deal will include $4bn of Pipe (private investment in public equity) funding led by US-based Altimeter.
Blackrock, Morgan Stanley, Fidelity and Janus Henderson are also contributing to the cash raise. The combined company will be valued at $39.6bn and is expected to list on the Nasdaq.
Grab said its decision to go public was driven by its strong financial performance in 2020 thanks to a surge in demand for food delivery and digital payment services.
The company said its gross merchandise value — a measure of total sales value — hit roughly $12.5bn last year, surpassing pre-pandemic levels and more than doubling from 2018.
“It gives us immense pride to represent Southeast Asia in the global public markets,” said Grab chief executive and co-founder Anthony Tan.
“This is a milestone in our journey to open up access for everyone to benefit from the digital economy. This is even more critical as our region recovers from Covid-19.”
Grab, which was founded in 2012 and became south-east Asia’s first decacorn valued at more than $10bn, will merge with the Altimeter Growth I fund, which raised $450m last year.
California-based Altimeter, which has backed a string of tech giants, has raised a total of $850m for two Spacs. It also contributed to Pipe funding for Cazoo’s $7bn Spac listing.
As part of the merger, Altimeter will commit to a three-year lock-up of its sponsor promote shares.
The deal will be a crucial test for Asian unicorns looking to go public this year. Tiktok owner Bytedance is also reportedly considering an initial public offering.