A service of

Carsome exploring options including SPAC merger as IPO hits wall

Malaysia-based online automobile trading company Carsome is exploring alternative options including a specia purpose acquisition company (SPAC) merger for a Singapore SGX listing, said two sources familiar with the matter.  

Carsome’s initial plan for parallel US and Singapore IPOs has been put on hold amid continued capital market uncertainties, said the sources.  

Morgan Stanley has been retained to lead a potential IPO, but several local and global banks are still engaged in talks for possible role, said the sources.   

The company has a Likely-to-IPO (LTI) score of 23 out of 100, according to the predictive algorithm on Dealogic ECM (ionanalytics.com), which tracks the likelihood of venture capitals exiting a portfolio company since the entry investment.

According to the second source familiar, Carsome is not the only company contemplating a SPAC merger instead of a conventional listing. 

A Carsome spokesperson said the company has no plan for a SPAC merger at the moment and has maintained that an IPO is one of the options it is looking for when the time and market conditions are right

Morgan Stanley did not reply to requests for comment. 

Vietnam based electric vehicle maker Vinfast Auto, is looking to skip a round of private investment in public equity funding and exploring a follow-on offering after getting listed through a merger with US-based SPAC Black Spade Acquisition Co [NYSE: BSAQ], as reported by Mergermarket this month.     

For Carsome, a new capital raise is not the immediate priority, and a SPAC merger may provide a platform to expand further through the capital market at a later date, said first source. The company is valued at more than USD 2bn currently, the first source added.  

Carsome's existing investors include Asia Partners, Gobi Partners, Qatar Investment Authority, and two Singapore’s sovereign fund Temasek Holdings backed entities Seatown Private Credit Fund and 65 Equity Partners.    

 Carsome closed a major undisclosed amount of funding round last month, according to an online news report. It raised USD 290m in a Series E funding round co-led by Qatar Investment Authority in January last year, according to a newswire report . 

This news service reported in November last year that Singapore-based SPAC Pegasus Asia [SGX: PGS] has appointed BNP Paribas to advise on a potential merger with its local de-SPAC target, Kacific Broadband Satellites.

Major SPAC merger from this region involved Singapore-based involved tech company Grab Holdings [NASDAQ: GRAB] merger with Altimeter Growth Corp in December 2021, valuing the Southeast Asian ride-hailing giant at USD 37.7bn, Dealogic data shows.

[Editor's note: Updated to include a comment from Carsome.]