Grab to list in US in record $40-billion deal

Grab Holdings Inc., Southeast Asia’s most valuable startup, is going public in the United States through a merger with blank-check company Altimeter Growth Corp. in what is the largest-ever deal of its kind.

The Singapore-based startup is set to have a market value of about $39.6 billion after the combination with the special purpose acquisition company of Brad Gerstner’s Altimeter Capital Management, the firms said in a statement Tuesday. Grab is raising more than $4 billion from investors including BlackRock Inc., Fidelity International and T. Rowe Price Group Inc. as part of the biggest US equity offering by a Southeast Asian company.

The deal would make the ride-hailing and food-delivery giant the first Southeast Asian tech unicorn to go public through a SPAC and give it funds to expand. Grab is trying to take advantage of a US-led SPAC listing boom even though it’s showing signs of slowing amid increased scrutiny by regulators.

“This is definitely one of the best internet companies,” Gerstner said in an interview. “The runway ahead is very long and very wide for Grab if they continue to execute.”

The combined entity’s stock will trade on the Nasdaq in the coming months under the ticker GRAB. Altimeter Capital, which orchestrated the initial public offering of Altimeter Growth in September, is putting $750 million into the company, about a fifth of the fresh funds raised.

That, together with a three-year lockup period for its sponsor shares, indicates Altimeter’s long-term commitment to the company, Grab Chief Executive Officer Anthony Tan said. Altimeter, which manages $15 billion of assets, has also committed as much as $500 million to a contingent investment to be equal to the total amount of redemptions by Altimeter Growth’s shareholders.

“From sovereign wealth funds to mutual funds, it is world-class investors who are investing in us,” Tan said in an interview. “The world is seeing the potential of Southeast Asia and how exciting this region is.” Bloomberg News

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