HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) - Singapore online marketplace operator Carousell is in talks to go public through a merger with blank-cheque company L Catterton Asia Acquisition Corp, according to people familiar with the matter.
A transaction could value the combined entity at as much as US$1.5 billion (S$2 billion), the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Carousell has entered into exclusive talks with the special purpose acquisition company (Spac), the people said.
The US-listed Spac is backed by L Catterton, the US$30 billion buyout firm minority-owned by Paris-based luxury goods company LVMH and billionaire Bernard Arnault's investment firm.
The Spac plans to carry out due diligence on Carousell over the coming weeks with the goal of reaching a merger agreement as early as this quarter, the people said. The deal may include a private investment in public equity, or Pipe, worth a few hundred million dollars, the people said.
Considerations are ongoing and there is no certainty the talks will result in a deal, the people said, adding that details such as timing and valuation could change.
Representatives for Carousell and L Catterton declined to comment.
Led by L Catterton Asia managing partners Chinta Bhagat and Scott Chen, the Spac raised US$250 million last year to target a combination with companies in the high-growth, consumer technology sectors across Asia. It is sponsored by L Catterton Asia's US$1.45 billion third fund.
Carousell, founded in 2012 by three friends from the National University of Singapore, now counts Telenor Group, Rakuten Ventures, Naver, and Sequoia Capital India among its backers.
The firm has since expanded to eight markets across South-east Asia, Taiwan and Hong Kong, allowing users to buy and sell a diverse range of products from cars to gadgets to fashion accessories. It runs several online marketplaces including Carousell, Chotot.com in Vietnam, Mudah in Malaysia and OneKyat in Myanmar, according to its website.
The company has been exploring a US listing via a Spac deal, Bloomberg News reported in June last year, joining a growing list of companies across South-east Asia.
Ride-hailing provider Grab Holdings and Altimeter Growth Corp completed one of the largest Spac deals ever in December. Also last year, Singapore's online real estate firm PropertyGuru agreed to go public through a merger with Bridgetown 2 Holdings, the blank-cheque firm backed by billionaires Richard Li and Peter Thiel.
In Singapore, two Spacs opened their books for initial public offerings (IPOs) and are set to list later this month, The Straits Times reported on Thursday.
The IPOs, by Vertex Technology Acquisition Corp and Pegasus Asia, would mark the first Spac listings on a major Asian bourse, and the first in the region since the frenzy for such blank-cheque firms started in the United States in 2020.