PropertyGuru to debut on NYSE as investors approve Spac deal

The combined entity will start trading March 18 on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker PGRU. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) - Shareholders approved the merger of PropertyGuru and blank-cheque company Bridgetown 2 Holdings, paving the way for the online real estate marketplace to start trading in New York even as investor interest towards such deals wanes.

The proposal passed Tuesday (March 15) at a special shareholder meeting of Bridgetown 2, the special purpose acquisition company (Spac) backed by billionaires Richard Li and Peter Thiel.

The combined entity will start trading March 18 on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker PGRU, the company said in a regulatory filing.

PropertyGuru, led by chief executive Hari Krishnan, is attempting to list at a challenging time for Spacs. After a flurry of listings last year, the market has now been hit by diminishing investor interest, a crackdown by the US Securities and Exchange Commission and falling stock prices.

Grab Holdings, South-east Asia's biggest ride-hailing and delivery company, has plummeted about 65 per cent since the transaction was completed in December amid a broader tech sell-off and a disappointing earnings report. It was the largest Spac deal.

The difficult conditions echo past challenges for PropertyGuru. Back in 2019, it scrapped plans for an initial public offering in Australia amid a rocky market and valuation concerns.

PropertyGuru, founded by Mr Steve Melhuish and Mr Jani Rautiainen in Singapore 15 years ago to help residents search for real estate online, has become a household name in the city-state. The company has since expanded into verticals such as home loans and data analytics, and moved into markets including Indonesia and Malaysia.

PropertyGuru is expecting total sales to rise 44 per cent to $145.1 million in 2022, banking on growth across all markets as economies reopen after the pandemic, according to a statement in February.

The company also said it expects to return to positive adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation.

Bridgetown 2 shares, originally sold at US$10 each, fell 12 per cent on Monday to US$8.26 in New York. They rebounded a little on Tuesday and were up 3.4 per cent at 10.29am.

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