SINGAPORE (Reuters) -Traveloka, Southeast Asia’s largest online travel app, said on Monday it was looking to go public soon and was evaluating a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) as a possible stock-market listing option.
SPACs are shell companies that use proceeds from going public to buy another company, not yet identified at the time of listing. The resulting merger with the target company, often a start-up in a high-growth sector, offers it a faster and lower cost way to market than a traditional initial public offering (IPO).
“A SPAC is one of the options we are evaluating given we have been approached by a few,” Traveloka president Henry Hendrawan said in a statement in response to a Reuters query.
Bankers have also said Jakarta-based Traveloka is among a handful of Southeast Asian companies that have been approached or are targets of SPACs.
A source with knowledge of the matter said Traveloka is still deciding between an IPO or a SPAC and eying a valuation of $5-6 billion. Traveloka declined to comment.
Hendrawan told Reuters in late 2019 that Traveloka would consider a possible dual listing in Jakarta and another centre such as the United States.
The eight-year-old Indonesian startup, which claims more than 60 million downloads and has expanded into financial services, announced in July it had raised $250 million in its latest funding round.
After an earlier battering as Southeast Asian countries closed borders and imposed strict lockdowns during the coronavirus pandemic, Traveloka is benefitting from an uptick in domestic tourism as governments in Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore encourage residents to explore their own countries.
“Traveloka will be profitable by 2021,” East Ventures managing partner and longtime backer Willson Cuaca told Reuters earlier in December.
Hendrawan also told media in October he was expecting Traveloka to potentially be profitable by 2021.
Other investors include Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC and U.S. online travel player Expedia.
(Reporting by Fanny Potkin in Singapore; editing by Jason Neely and Louise Heavens and Kirsten Donovan)