Grab to unveil world’s biggest SPAC merger

The agreed transaction will surpass electric vehicle maker Lucid Motors' $24bn deal struck with a SPAC in February

Grab Holdings, Southeast Asia’s biggest ride-hailing and food delivery company, is expected to announce today its merger with US-based Altimeter that will value Grab at nearly $40bn and lead to a public listing, Reuters said, citing own sources. The merger, which will be the biggest blank-check company deal ever, will surpass electric vehicle maker Lucid Motors' $24bn deal struck with a SPAC in February.

It also underscores the frenzy on Wall Street as shell firms have raised $99bn in the United States so far this year after a record $83bn fundraising in 2020.

Singapore-based Grab's agreement with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) backed by Altimeter Capital includes a $4bn private investment in public equity (PIPE) from a group of Asian and global investors including Fidelity International and Janus Henderson, the sources said.

Grab declined to comment on the SPAC deal. There was no response either from Silicon Valley-based Altimeter, Fidelity or Janus Henderson to emailed requests seeking comment.

The deal for Grab, which was valued at just over $16bn last year, will be a big win for its early backers such as SoftBank Group Corp and China's Didi Chuxing. Last year, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc and IT services firm TIS Inc invested $856 m in Grab as it expanded into financial services.

The bumper valuation validates Grab's co-founder Anthony Tan's strategy to aggressively tap growth in new sectors and ramp up market share by pumping billions of dollars to localise its services and invest in high-growth economies.

Grab first attracted global attention in 2018 when it acquired Uber's Southeast Asia business after a costly five-year battle and in return took a stake in the company.  The company, whose net revenue surged 70% last year, is yet to turn profitable, but it expects its biggest segment - the food delivery business - to break even by end-2021, as more consumers shift to online food delivery after the COVID-19 pandemic.

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