Traveloka in talks to list via Bridgetown SPAC

Regional player: An employee of Traveloka works at the company's headquarters in Jakarta. 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. — Reuters

JAKARTA: Indonesia’s Traveloka is in advanced talks to go public through merging with Bridgetown Holdings Ltd, 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$5bil (RM20.69bil), said the people who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. The potential transaction could also involve raising between US$500mil and US$750mil through a private investment in public equity, or PIPE.

Details including the amount to be raised could change as the companies start discussions with potential investors.

Representatives for Bridgetown and Traveloka declined to comment.

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

Traveloka was last valued at around US$2.75bil, according to people familiar with the matter.

Bridgetown raised about US$595mil in a US initial public offering in October. Its shares jumped more than 13% on Thursday to US$12.11. The company’s sponsor is a collaboration between Thiel Capital, Thiel’s personal investment vehicle based in Los Angeles, and Pacific Century Group, a Hong Kong-based investment company led by Li. — Bloomberg

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