The Business Times

Traveloka in talks to list via Thiel's Bridgetown SPAC: sources

Published Fri, Apr 9, 2021 · 06:24 PM

[SINGAPORE] Indonesia's Traveloka is in advanced talks to go public through merging with Bridgetown Holdings, a blank-cheque firm backed by billionaires Richard Li and Peter Thiel, according to people familiar with the matter.

A deal could value South-east Asia's online travel leader at about US$5 billion, said the people who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.

The potential transaction could also involve raising between US$500 million and US$750 million through a private investment in public equity, or PIPE, the people said. Details including the amount to be raised could change as the companies start discussions with potential investors, they added.

Representatives for Bridgetown and Traveloka declined to comment.

Shares in Bridgetown Holdings rose about 6 per cent in pre-market trading in New York, extending their 13 per cent gain on Thursday.

The deal would make Jakarta-based Traveloka one of the first South-east Asian unicorns to go public through a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC.

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Grab Holdings is in advanced talks to go that route through Altimeter Capital's first SPAC, which may value the company at about US$40 billion, Bloomberg News reported last month.

Traveloka was valued in 2020 at around US$2.75 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

Bridgetown raised about US$595 million in a US initial public offering in October. The company's sponsor is a collaboration between Thiel Capital, Mr Thiel's personal investment vehicle based in Los Angeles, and Pacific Century Group, a Hong Kong-based investment company led by Mr Li.

Founded in 2012, Traveloka has expanded its reach across six South-east Asian nations and also covers Australia, making it easier for consumers to book flights and hotels across countries.

Like other startups in the region, the company has sought to grow its offering with complementary services, extending into finance alongside its travel, lifestyle and accommodation booking portfolio.

Traveloka's backers include Expedia Group, Rocket Internet, East Ventures, Li's FWD Group and Singapore's GIC.

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