Grab Holdings on Tuesday (Apr 13) confirmed its US$40 billion merger with a publicly-listed shell company backed by Altimeter Capital, marking the biggest ever deal with a blank cheque firm.

The proposed transactions value Grab at an initial pro-forma equity value of about US$39.6 billion (S$53.2 billion).

The combined company expects its securities will be traded on NASDAQ under the symbol “GRAB” in the coming months, said Grab in a press release.

This is expected to be the largest-ever US equity offering by a Southeast Asian company, said the release.

Grab’s agreement with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) backed by Altimeter Capital includes a more than US$4 billion private investment in public equity (PIPE).

Investors in the PIPE include BlackRock, Counterpoint Global, T. Rowe Price Associates, Fidelity International, Fidelity Management and Research, Janus Henderson Investors, Mubadala, Nuveen, Permodalan Nasional Berhad and Temasek Holdings.

“It gives us immense pride to represent Southeast Asia in the global public markets. This is a milestone in our journey to open up access for everyone to benefit from the digital economy,” said Grab’s group CEO and co-founder Anthony Tan.

He said the move was even more critical as the region recovers from COVID-19.

“Our diversified superapp strategy helped our driver-partners pivot to deliveries, and enabled us to deliver growth while improving profitability.

“As we become a publicly-traded company, we’ll work even harder to create economic empowerment for our communities, because when Southeast Asia succeeds, Grab succeeds,” said Mr Tan.

Altimeter CEO and founder Mr Brad Grestner said: “As one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing Internet companies, Grab is paving the digital path forward for the 670 million citizens of Southeast Asia.”

Grab said its decision to become a public company was driven by strong financial performance in 2020, despite the pandemic.

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

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

On Tuesday, Grab said it expects its total addressable market to grow from about US$52 billion in 2020 to more than US$180 billion by 2025 across online food delivery, ride-hailing and digital wallet payments.

Source: CNA/Reuters/dv