SE Asia unicorn Grab lists on Nasdaq after successful SPAC merger

Image by Abdul Razak Latif | Bigstockphoto

In one of the largest special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) deals to date, Singapore-based tech unicorn Grab has officially listed on Nasdaq as a merged entity with SPAC Altimeter Growth, which announced investor approval on Tuesday.

Valued at around $40 billion, Grab and Altimeter Growth will commence trading on Nasdaq under the ticker GRAB. According to Altimeter Growth, a majority of the company’s investors voted in favor of the deal. When the firm files a Form 8-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), official voting figures will be revealed.

Altimeter Growth added that there were very few redemptions, or shareholders choosing to get their money back, at a rate of 0.02%. Investors that support an SPAC can redeem their bets at the issue price prior to the merger’s completion.

The Grab/Altimeter Growth merger was announced in April, when SPACs were at the height of popularity. Since then, US authorities have raised concerns over SPACs, but this did not deter Grab from completing its US listing.

According to Nikkei Asia, through this merger, US investors have a new opportunity to invest in Southeast Asia, which has been underrepresented in the global stock market despite its rapid growth as an economic and tech hub. Investors can access a robust consumer market of 650 million people in Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

Grab, touted as Southeast Asia’s most valuable startup, is the second technology firm from the region to list in the US, after Singapore-based online gaming and e-commerce company Sea listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in 2017.

Another tech unicorn, GoTo Group, is planning to go public in the first half of 2022, after a successful first pre-IPO close worth $1.3 billion. GoTo is a merger between ride-hailing platform Gojek and e-Commerce company Tokopedia.

The Economist notes that these developments from Southeast Asia signal a big change in Asia’s technology industry. As investors become weary of China’s government crackdowns, a new breed of Southeast Asia rivals is emerging.

 “Southeast Asia is surely fulfilling hopes, long-held, that a big emerging market consumer-tech sector would rise outside China,” The Economist writes.

In a report, KR Asia highlights that Grab’s market value will be closely tracked, as it may serve as a yardstick for valuing similar Southeast Asia businesses planning to list in the US in the future.

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