PropertyGuru to go public in US$1.8 Billion SPAC deal


SINGAPORE, July 24 (Bloomberg): Singapore’s online real estate firm PropertyGuru Pte agreed to go public through a merger with Bridgetown 2 Holdings Ltd., the blank-check company backed by billionaires Richard Li and Peter Thiel, seeking to spur growth as its domestic property market sizzles.

The combined entity is set to have a market value of about $1.78 billion, the companies said in a statement on Saturday. The deal will include a private investment in public equity, or PIPE, of about $100 million from investors including Baillie Gifford, Naya, REA Group Ltd., Akaris Global Partners and one of Malaysia’s largest asset managers. REA Group also committed to invest an additional $32 million, according to the statement.

PropertyGuru, backed by TPG Capital and KKR & Co., has benefited from a pandemic-induced real estate boom that has pushed Singapore’s home prices to record. The company has also expanded to Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, making it the largest real estate marketplace in Southeast Asia.

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter or the first quarter of 2022, subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals and other conditions, according to the statement. The combined company is expected to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

PropertyGuru’s shareholders, including KKR, TPG Capital and REA Group, will retain more than 70% ownership of the listed company.

Bloomberg News first reported PropertyGuru’s talks with Bridgetown 2 in June. The special purpose acquisition company raised about $300 million in a U.S. initial public offering in January and its shares closed at $9.94 on the Nasdaq on Friday, compared with a debut price of $10 and a high of $13.59 in February.

Founded by entrepreneurs Steve Melhuish and Jani Rautiainen in 2007, PropertyGuru has become a household name in the property-crazed Singapore. The company scrapped plans for an IPO on the Australian stock exchange in 2019 over valuation concerns. In September, it announced $300 million in new funding from investors including existing backers KKR and TPG.

The company is taking advantage of investor interest in South-East Asia, a region with about 650 million people and an emerging technology startup scene. Singapore’s Grab Holdings Inc. is going public via a blank-check firm by the end of this year, while Indonesian e-commerce firm Bukalapak.com is set to list on the local exchange in August. GoTo, the biggest Indonesian tech startup valued at $18 billion, is expected to follow suit.

In May, PropertyGuru agreed to acquire all of the shares in REA Group’s operating entities in Malaysia and Thailand, marking the biggest acquisition in its history. As part of that deal, REA Group, which is majority-owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. empire, will get an 18% equity interest in PropertyGuru and appoint a director to its board. - Bloomberg

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