The Southeast Asian portal operator 99 Group has reportedly pulled out of takeover talks with generalist marketplace operator Carousell after Carousell's mooted SPAC deal collapsed.
Citing people with knowledge of the matter, Bloomberg this morning claimed that Carousell's rumoured $150+ million bid to acquire 99 Group was kiboshed after Carousell's plans to go public via a SPAC merger came to nothing. The Singaporean marketplace company had been in talks with the special purpose acquisition company, L Catterton Asia Acquisition Corp which would have seen Carousell make its public debut on the NASDAQ.
With the takeover deal fallen through, 99 Group this morning announced a Series C round of $37 million led by the private equity fund Gaw Partners. The portal operator expects to raise an additional $15 million in the coming months to go on the offensive and expand its operations to new markets in the region and increase R&D activities.
While 99 Group operates the leading real estate marketplaces in Indonesia (99.co and rumah123.com) as well as portals in its native Singapore (99.co, iProperty.com.sg and SRX) Carousell operates leading generalist marketplaces in Singapore (Carousell), Vietnam (Cho Tot), Malaysia (Mudah.my) and Myanmar (OneKyat). The merger would have seen the two come together to take on regional rival PropertyGuru.
Special purpose acquisition company deals saw a boom in through 2020 and early 2021 with proptechs such as Porch.com, Opendoor and Offerpad all going public via the method that bypasses some of the hassle and expense involved in an IPO. Recently, market conditions and increased regulation have contributed to a decline in SPAC deals and executives at Carousell would appear to have backed away from a deal rather than take the risk.