Grab set to announce merger with US-based Altimeter at $53 billion valuation: Sources

With operations in eight countries and 398 cities, Grab is already South-east Asia's most valuable start-up.
With operations in eight countries and 398 cities, Grab is already South-east Asia's most valuable start-up.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE (REUTERS) - South-east Asia’s largest ride-hailing and food delivery firm Grab Holdings is set to announce later on Tuesday (April 13) a merger with US-based Altimeter that is set to value Grab at nearly US$40 billion (S$53.6 billion) and lead to a US public listing, three people told Reuters.

The merger will make it the biggest blank-cheque company deal ever.

Grab’s agreement with a special purpose acquisition company (Spac) backed by Altimeter Capital includes a US$4 billion 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. There was no response from Silicon Valley-based Altimeter to an e-mailed request for comment.

The two fund managers also did not respond to an e-mailed query. The sources declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.

The deal for Singapore-based Grab, which sources have previously said was valued at just over US$16 billion last year, is a big win for its early backers such as Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp and China’s Didi Chuxing.

A US listing will give Grab extra firepower in its main market, Indonesia, where local rival Gojek is close to sealing a merger with the country’s leading e-commerce business Tokopedia.

The nearly US$40 billion valuation is based on a proforma equity value, two of the sources said.

Grab, whose net revenue surged 70 per cent 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.

With operations in eight countries and 398 cities, Grab is already South-east Asia’s most valuable start-up.

Leveraging its ride-hailing business that was started in 2012, the firm has expanded into offering food and grocery deliveries, courier services and digital payments, and is now making a big push into insurance and lending in a region of 650 million people.

Cash-rich, US-listed Sea is also muscling into food delivery and financial services in Indonesia. Both Grab and Sea won digital bank licences in Singapore last year.