Grab, described as the Uber of Southeast Asia, has confirmed it will list in the US through the largest SPAC deal yet

The US$40bn deal with special acquisitions company (SPAC) Altimeter is worth more than double previous record holder United Wholesale Mortgage’s US$16bn merger in January.

SPACs, also known as blank-cheque companies, are set up specifically to find an acquisition and Altimeter had pulled in US$4bn from investors including Fidelity International and Temasek from Singapore ahead of the merger with Grab.

Brad Gerstner, founder and chief executive of Altimeter, said Grab was one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing companies.

“We are thrilled that Grab selected Altimeter Capital Markets as their partner to go public and even more excited to become sizable long-term owners in this innovative, mission-driven company,” he said in a statement.

Grab offers a range of services including ride-hailing, food delivery and payment solutions.

“They’re [Altimeter] joining our journey for the long run, together with an incredible day one cap table of renowned institutional investors and sovereign wealth funds,” Grab chief executive Anthony Tan added.

Altimeter’s holding in Grab will be subject to a three-year lock-up period following the listing.

Singapore-based, Grab was founded by Tan and Tan Hooi Ling in 2012 as a taxi company but has now expanded into deliveries, digital payments and financial services.

The company was valued at more than US$14bn (£10.2bn) after a US$1.5bn cash injection from Japan’s SoftBank in 2019.

Grab’s listing is a key test for the South-East Asian tech sector, which is aiming to offer international investors access to the heavily populated and growing consumer markets such as Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia.

It will also continue a recent flurry of tech companies listing on both the New York and London markets, with varying degrees of success.

One of the more high-profile flops has been food delivery app Deliveroo Holdings PLC (LON:ROO), which has seen its share price tumble from its 390p IPO price.

SPAC mergers have taken off in the past six months helped by buoyant stock markets as companies can list more quickly and get a better price than using a conventional IPO process.

Like a reverse takeover, the acquired company takes the SPAC’s spot on an exchange with a new stock ticker and (usually) a name change.

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