Southeast Asian classified business Carousell Group is reportedly in talks to acquire Singapore-based property marketplace operator 99 Group. According to The Business Times (BT), the acquisition is likely to give a boost to Carousell's monetisation strategy as it doubles down on high-value transactions and shapes up for the public market. However, negotiations are still ongoing and might not result in a deal, a source told BT.
Carousell has declined to comment on the plans, which it claims are "speculations or rumours". "We are privileged to have the support of investors that support our long-term vision. As such we are laser-focused on our mission of inspiring the world to start selling, and working on products and services to make secondhand the first choice. We constantly consider all options and opportunities to accelerate our goal of building a meaningful and enduring marketplace," Carousell's spokesperson told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.
Property marketplace operator 99 Group has declined to comment as well.
The move comes as Carousell reportedly looks to go public through a merger with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) L Catterton Asia. According to multiple sources such as Bloomberg and The Business Times (BT), Carousell entered into exclusive talks with the SPAC last month. Both Bloomberg and BT also reported that the SPAC plans to carry out due diligence on Carousell over the coming weeks with the goal of reaching a merger agreement as early as this quarter. The deal may include a private investment in public equity worth a few hundred million dollars, the media outlets reported. However, there is no certainty that the talks will result in a deal, and details such as timing and valuation could change.
This comes after Bloomberg reported in June last year that Carousell was mulling a US listing via a merger with a blank-check firm and the potential transaction could reportedly value the company as much as US$1.5 billion.
Carousell Group was founded in 2012 and currently serves a community of tens of millions of users across eight markets in Southeast Asia under the brands Carousell, Mudah.my, Cho Tot and OneKyat. According to Carousell, its mobile-first approach reignited the classifieds space, making selling and buying easier.
In September last year, Carousell Group secured an investment of US$100 million, bringing its valuation to US$1.1 billion. The funding, led by Korean private equity STIC Investments, aimed to accelerate the company's leadership in the region, and enable Carousell to achieve its goal of redefining commerce for secondhand goods and automobiles in an increasingly digitally savvy, affluent and sustainability-conscious region. According to CNBC, other backers for Carousell included Golden Gate Ventures, Naver and Sequoia Capital India.
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