Grab, the food-delivery giant backed by SoftBank, is going public in the US via the largest-ever SPAC merger, valuing it at $40 billion

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Grab, the food-delivery giant backed by SoftBank, is going public in the US via the largest-ever SPAC merger, valuing it at $40 billion
Tan Hooi Ling, chief operating officer and cofounder of Grab.S3studio/Getty Images
  • The self-described "superapp" Grab plans to go public via a SPAC merger with Altimeter Growth.
  • The deal is set to value Grab, backed by SoftBank, at $39.6 billion.
  • The Singapore-based app offers services ranging from deliveries to financial services.

The Southeast Asian ride-hailing and food-delivery giant Grab, whose backers include SoftBank and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, on Tuesday announced plans to go public in the US via a merger with the blank-check company Altimeter Growth.

The deal is set to value Grab at $39.6 billion and would be the biggest merger done through a special-purpose acquisition company.

A SPAC is a company created solely to merge with, or acquire, another business and take it public, making it a cheaper, faster alternative to an initial public offering, as Insider's Martin Daks explained.

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The Singapore-based Grab said it expected its securities to be traded on the Nasdaq under the symbol GRAB "in the coming months."

Read more: Grab's cofounders took a $10,000 business-school prize and turned it into a 'super app' worth $40 billion as part of the largest SPAC deal ever

Grab describes itself as a "superapp." It offers services ranging from deliveries to financial services.

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Grab started as a ride-hailing venture in Malaysia in 2012 and is now the region's most valuable startup.

Grab said it decided to go public because of its strong financial performance in 2020. It posted a gross merchandise volume of $12.5 billion, which is more than double its 2018 figure, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

The company added that it accounted for about 72% of Southeast Asia's gross merchandise volume for ride-hailing and 50% for online food delivery, as well as 23% of regional total payment volume for digital wallet payments in 2020.

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Shares in Altimeter Group were last up about 9% at $15.16 in US premarket trading.

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