Commentary: Why Grab, Gojek, Tokopedia and Sea are the new darlings of US markets

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SINGAPORE: If everything goes to plan, Grab will soon raise around US$4 billion in financing in the biggest ever SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Company) listing, giving Anthony Tan, the company’s founder, a place in the history books, just as he wanted.

The listing values Grab at US$40 billion. The ride hailing-to-food delivery giant is a dominant force and a household name in Southeast Asia. It is talk of the town on Wall Street.

Though it is worth noting that the valuations are eye-popping and the questions are increasing about the viability of SPACs.

Jim Cramer, the host of the famous CNBC show, Mad Money, cast a strong dose of caution on SPACs and investments in tech companies often. But he’s talking up the Grab deal. “I don’t like the price right now, but if you wait for some weakness … you’ve got my permission to do some buying,” he said last week.

READ: Commentary: Why Grab is in such a rush to get listed

The fact that Grab’s acquirer, Altimeter, has pledged a three year lock up on its shares also shows a healthy dollop of confidence.

Not too long ago, American investors were clamouring to get their hands on anything to do with China and Chinese companies were flocking to US equity markets to capitalise on the enthusiasm. 

The depth and sophistication of the US market is still unrivalled, despite the rise of its Shanghai equivalent. But attention is now turning to Southeast Asia in a big way.

THE SOUTHEAST ASIA GROWTH STORY 

That comes as little surprise in some ways. 



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