Jakarta-based online travel startup Traveloka is reportedly in talks to raise as much $400 million as it targets a U.S. listing by merging with a special purpose acquisition company backed by Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li and investor Peter Thiel.
The potential fundraising, part of a planned merger with Bridgetown Holdings, would be accomplished through a private investment in public equity, or PIPE, Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.
The merger would value Traveloka at $5 billion, Bloomberg cited the people as saying. Bridgetown raised about $595 million in a U.S. initial public offering in October.
Traveloka and Singapore’s ride hailing and delivery startup Grab are in a race to become the first Southeast Asian tech unicorn to go public via a SPAC. Grab is planning a U.S. listing this year through a merger with Altimeter Growth, the blank check company of Altimeter Capital Management. Grab and Altimeter said in April the merger would give Grab a market value of about $39.6 billion.
While listing via a SPAC may be simpler in some ways than a conventional initial public offering, several Jakarta-based venture capitalists say such deals are facing rising hurdles from the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission. Grab in June delayed its projected merger with Altimeter to the fourth quarter from the third, saying in an SEC filing that a financial audit of the past three years was still being finalized.