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After buying Gojek's Thai biz, AirAsia aims to raise US$300m via US listing of digital unit

After buying Gojek's Thai biz, AirAsia aims to raise US$300m via US listing of digital unit

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AirAsia Group is targeting to raise approximately US$300 million by listing airasia Digital through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) in the US, Reuters said. Citing group CEO Tony Fernandes, Reuters said the airline has been approached by a couple of SPACs specialising in technology. He added that the airline has already recruited its auditors to begin preparations for an American listing which is expected to happen in five months and is also in talks with other companies, Reuters said, including Malaysian and Indonesian private equity.

Airasia Digital manages the super app which comprises various offerings from food delivery to groceries as well as fintech, logistics, flights and hotel accommodations. According to Fernandes during a recent virtual conference, the super app is valued at US$1 billion. The airline's digital unit recently bought Gojek's operations in Thailand and aims to use this as a springboard into other regional markets such as Chiang Mai and Phuket in the near future.

Alongside this acquisition, BigPay is also beefing up its entrance into Thailand and is working with the Bank of Thailand to ensure a smooth transition while GoPay winds down its operations. BigPay aims to go live in the first quarter of next year provided it receives the necessary regulatory approvals. This comes shortly after BigPay announced last week that it applied for a digital banking licence, putting together a consortium of strategic partners: Malaysian Industrial Development Finance, Ikhlas Capital and a foreign conglomerate with fintech expertise.

AirAsia and Gojek's Thailand team will work together during the transition period to move all operations to the airasia super app. Fernandes said previously that it will be a seamless transition and there will be no redundancies. Its All-Stars will also have career opportunities in Thailand. Through this acquisition, the airline aims to be as good as Agoda and Traveloka, supplementing the business with the offerings that Gojek has built, especially on the payments and super app fronts. Amanda Woo was recently named CEO of the super app, replacing Karen Chan who took on a board role.

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