facebookGrab IPO Delay: Grab Postpones S$53.2 Billion SPAC Deal to Q4 2021


Grab IPO Delay: Grab Postpones S$53.2 Billion SPAC Deal to Q4 2021

profileJoel Koh

10 June 2021 Update: Grab Postpones Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) Deal to Q4 2021

According to a report from Reuters on Wednesday, Grab announced that its plans to go public via a merger deal with SPAC company Altimeter Growth Corp. (Nasdaq: AGC) will be postponed.

The ride-hailing company added that it expects the merger to be completed in Q4 2021 or somewhere between October and December of this year. Previously, Grab mentioned that it aimed to complete the merger in July 2021.

The company added that the SPAC deal was postponed as it needed more time to complete its financial audit for fiscal years (FY) 2018, 2019 and 2020 in keeping with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requirements.

As such, Grab’s stated that its ‘financial information for those periods remain subject to further review and revision.’

Also, the company mentioned that its consolidated gross merchandise value in Q1 2021 was US$3.6 billion (S$4.77 billion), 5.2% higher than the same time period in 2020.

Grab Announces Intention To Go Public via Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) Deal With Altimeter

Just this evening (13 Apr 2021), Grab Holdings Inc. (Grab) announced that it set intends to go public in the U.S. through a merger with a special purpose acquisition vehicle (SPAC) company Altimeter Growth Corp. (Nasdaq: AGC).

Source: Grab

If successful, this SPAC deal is likely to become the biggest ever U.S. equity offering by a South-East Asian company, with the proposed transactions giving Grab an expected equity value on a Pro-forma basis of about US$39.6 billion (S$53.2 billion).

As part of the SPAC deal, Grab will receive cash proceeds of up to US$4.5 billion (S$6.05 billion).

Included in these cash proceeds are US$4.0 billion (S$5.37 billion) of fully committed Private Investment in Public Equity (PIPE) funding led by US$750 million (S$1.07 billion) from Altimeter Capital Management, LP: the company that owns Altimeter Growth Corp.

FYI: According to Investopedia, PIPE is when an institutional or an accredited investor buys stock directly from a public company below market price. The discounted price of PIPE shares means less capital for the company, and their issuance effectively dilutes the current stockholders’ stake.

Other investors in the PIPE include funds and accounts managed or advised by:

  • BlackRock
  • Counterpoint Global (Morgan Stanley Investment Management)
  • T.Rowe Price Associates, Inc.
  • Fidelity International
  • Fidelity Management and Research LLC
  • Janus Henderson Investors,
  • Mubadala, Nuveen
  • Permodalan Nasional Berhad
  • Temasek.

In addition, Grab announced that Altimeter will commit to a three-year lock-up period for its sponsor promote shares, of which 10 per cent will go to the recently announced GrabForGood Fund to support programs with long-term social and environmental impact

Grab expects that its shares will be traded on NASDAQ under the symbol GRAB in the coming months.

After today’s announcement, Altimeter Growth Corp. (Nasdaq: AGC)’s share price soared about 9 per cent in pre-market trading (as of 13 Apr 2021, 7.30pm) and is trading a price of US$15.20.

Why is Grab Considering Going Public With a SPAC Deal?

It’s all about control, reduced regulation and speed.

As covered in our article on SPACs:

A SPAC is a “blank check” shell company that is designed to take private companies public without going through the traditional IPO process.

The main advantage of a SPAC transaction is that a private company can become a listed company with more certainty and control over its pricing and deal terms as compared to the traditional IPO route.

There will also be less regulation as by design SPACs do not identify a specific acquisition target which will help the SPAC skip the protracted listing, auditing and disclosure process.

By going public via the SPAC route, experts estimate that companies could enter the market earlier by as much as four months.

Examples of U.S. companies that went public via the SPAC route include Virgin Galactic Holdings (NYSE: SPCE), DraftKings (NASDAQ: DKNG), and Opendoor Technologies (NASDAQ: OPEN) and United Wholesale Mortgage (NYSE: UWMC).

Grab Unicorn

In the world of start-ups becoming a ‘unicorn’ is what many entrepreneurs around the world aspire to.

The term unicorn (coined by venture capitalist Aileen Lee), is used to describe startups with a valuation exceeding US$1 billion. 

But what about companies that exceed this valuation?

You have Grab, Southeast Asia’s first ‘decacorn’ (startup with a valuation of more than US$10 billion) which is valued at US$14.3 billion by CB Insights.

The company is a mobile technology company with transportation, food delivery and payment arms that operate in Singapore, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

But, the company is still private, with little news about any initial public offering (IPO), save for the news that it had to pay US$2 billion to Uber Technologies if it did not go public by March 2023.

Here is all we know about the IPO so far.

We will be covering the basics such as details about the potential IPO such as: why Grab is not listing in Singapore; Grab’s investors so far; its business and financials; as well as explore the question of whether you can invest in Grab pre-IPO.

As such, do bookmark the article for reference as we’ll be updating it if we have any other news of the IPO.

Grab IPO Amount

Potentially, this listing could raise about US$4.0 billion (S$5.37 billion) for Grab.

Why is Grab Considering a US Listing Instead of a Singapore Listing?

If Grab’s goes public in the U.S., the company will be following in the footsteps of home-grown tech companies like SEA (NYSE:SE) and Razer Inc (HKG: 1337) who have chosen to list their shares outside of Singapore.

These companies have also chosen not to have a secondary listing on the Singapore Exchange (SGX).

There are a few reasons possible reasons for this:

Firstly, companies like Weiye Holdings, Hengxin Technology and more recently Alibaba Pictures Group, citing issues such as a ‘significantly lower trading volume’ of in stocks in Singapore in comparison to its main listing on the stock exchange of Hong Kong (SEHK).

To the issuing companies, it seems like having a secondary listing in Singapore is not worth the hassle for the amount of liquidity provided.

Secondly, listing in overseas stock markets like the ones in Hong Kong and the U.S. are more generally more attractive, as there is more liquidity, capital and higher valuations than SGX.

Last but not least, the rise of online brokerages that grant retail investors easy access to overseas markets have turned the heads of Singapore investors away from stocks listed on the SGX.

Singaporeans can simply invest in stocks overseas barring foreign exchange risk.

If there is a lack of interest in stocks listed on the SGX, companies may not find it as compelling to list in Singapore.

Grab’s Investors?

Grab is currently valued at US$14.3 billion and counts Softbank (Softbank Vision Fund), GGV Captial, Ping An Capital, Microsoft Corp, Booking Holdings, Toyota, CIC and Didi as investors.

Also, state-owned Temasek Holdings has a stake in Grab via its venture arm Vertex Ventures.

More recently, it was reported on 14 Jan 2021 that Grab has secured more than US$300 million (S$398 million) in funding from a group of investors spearheaded by South Korea’s Hanwha Asset Management to expand its growing financial services arm.

In total, it is estimated that the company has raised more than US$10.1 billion so far.

Grab’s Business

The company was started way back in June 2012 in Malaysia by Anthony Tan and Tan Hooi Ling.

Source: Grab

The co-founders launched the MyTeksi app in Malaysia with funding from Harvard Business School and Anthony Tan’s own money.

In 2013, MyTeksi was rebranded as GrabTaxi. In the following year, the company moved its headquarters from Malaysia to Singapore.

Subsequently, in 2016, the company rebranded itself as Grab, which brought all its services under one all-encompassing brand.

From its humble beginnings as a ride-hailing company, the company has expanded rapidly, launching food delivery services, and financial services under Grab Financial Group.

The company also extended its dominance in the ride-hailing space by acquiring Uber’s Southeast Asian operations on 26 Mar 2018.

More recently, the company and Singtel were awarded a full Singapore digital banking license.

This represents an exciting area of growth as one of the key criteria laid out by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is that banks need to make ‘innovative use of technology to serve customer needs and reach under-served segments of the Singapore market.’

Grab’s Financials

Although Grab’s financials are not public, Grab announced that ‘that total group net revenue jumped by about 70 per cent year-on-year in 2020 and had recovered to comfortably above pre-pandemic levels.’

Also, Moody Investor Services assigned a B3 corporate family rating (CFR) to Grab Holdings in January of this year. The agency added that it does not foresee that Grab will be profitable before 2023 as it expects that the company’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (Ebitda) will not break even on a consolidated basis until then.

The agency added that Grab’s ambitious growth plans for its financial services arm will’ ‘temper profitability’ for the upcoming two to three years.

However, the agency did reveal that Grab has about US$3.2 billion worth of unrestricted cash and cash equivalents as of 30 Sep 2020; stating that this ‘will be sufficient to cover negative operating cash flow, capital spending at its transport and food delivery businesses and scheduled debt maturities over at least the next two-three years”.

Can You Invest in Grab Now?

Unfortunately, as retail investors in Singapore, we cannot invest in Grab easily or at all.

But one way you can access Grab shares is via EquityZen: a U.S. based online marketplace that allows accredited investors to invest in pre-IPO private companies’ employee shares.

However, you will need to become a U.S. Accredited Investor, as per the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) definition.

Also, you will need to fork out quite a bit to invest in Grab as:

All new investors on EquityZen are eligible to make their first investment* at a reduced minimum of US$10,000. Additionally, investors who have invested in five or more deals are also eligible for US$10,000 investment minimums.

Otherwise, the minimum investment amount for investors is US$20,000.

Buy Altimeter Growth Corp. (Nasdaq: AGC) Shares

Alternatively, you could buy Altimeter Growth Corp’s shares to indirectly invest in Grab as AGC shares will become Grab shares when the SPAC deal goes through.

But a word of caution, although the Grab-Altimeter SPAC deal has been announced, it has not been confirmed. Thus, you cannot rule out the possibility that the SPAC deal might fall through.

Also, the news of this SPAC deal is already being priced in.

Should You Invest in Grab?

You can but should you invest in Grab?

You might want to check out our analysis of Grab first.

Disclaimer: The information provided by Seedly serves as an educational piece and is not intended to be personalised investment advice. ​Readers should always do their own due diligence and consider their financial goals before investing.


About Joel Koh
History student turned writer at Seedly. Before you ask, not a teacher. My time as a history student has equipped me with the skills to evaluate the impact societal development has on financial and nonfinancial events.
You can contribute your thoughts like Joel Koh here.

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