PropertyGuru nearing US$1.8b merger with Peter Thiel Spac

In May, PropertyGuru Pte agreed to acquire all of the shares in REA Group's operating entities in Malaysia and Thailand. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) - Singapore's online real estate firm PropertyGuru is nearing a deal to go public through a merger with Bridgetown 2 Holdings, the blank-check company backed by billionaires Richard Li and Peter Thiel, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

A transaction could value the combined entity at about US$1.8 billion, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. The deal will also include a private investment in public entity, or PIPE, of about US$100 million to US$150 million, anchored by institutional investors including Australia's REA Group, the people said.

The parties are hammering out the final details and an announcement could come as early as this week, the people said. Discussions could still face delays or even fall apart, they added. Representatives for PropertyGuru and Bridgetown 2 declined to comment, while a representative for REA Group didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

Bridgetown 2 has been in talks to merge with PropertyGuru, Bloomberg News first reported in June. The special purpose acquisition company raised about US$300 million in a US initial public offering in January and its shares were trading close to their debut price of US$10 last week. The blank-check firm set out in its prospectus that it will focus on targets in the so-called "new economy sectors" including technology, financial services or media in South-east Asia.

Founded by entrepreneurs Steve Melhuish and Jani Rautiainen in 2007, PropertyGuru has become a household name in the property-crazed Singapore. The real estate marketplace also has operations in countries including Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

The company scrapped plans for an initial public offering on the Australian stock exchange back in 2019 over valuation concerns. In September, it announced US$300 million in new funding from investors including existing backers KKR & Co and TPG Capital.

In May, PropertyGuru Pte agreed to acquire all of the shares in REA Group's operating entities in Malaysia and Thailand, marking the biggest acquisition in its 14-year history. As part of that deal, REA Group, which is majority-owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp empire, will get an 18 per cent equity interest in PropertyGuru and appoint a director to its board.

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