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PropertyGuru agreed to merge with Nasdaq-listed Bridgetown 2 Holdings—a blank-check company controlled by billionaires Richard Li and Peter Thiel—as the Singapore-based online real estate marketplace seeks to tap booming property demand across Southeast Asia.

The combined entity will be valued at $1.78 billion and listed on the New York Stock Exchange, the companies said in a joint statement. PropertyGuru will raise gross proceeds of $431 million from the transaction, of which $299 million will be contributed by Bridgetown 2.

Investors including Baillie Gifford, Naya, REA Group, Akaris Global Partners and one of Malaysia’s largest asset managers will contribute $100 million. REA Group, an existing shareholder of PropertyGuru, has committed to inject an additional $32 million. The transaction is expected to close by the fourth quarter of this year or the first quarter of 2022, subject to regulatory approvals.

PropertyGuru, which counts TPG Capital and KKR among its existing shareholders, has achieved 25% compounded annual revenue growth in the four years through 2019, benefiting from soaring property demand particularly in Singapore where home prices have climbed to record levels during the Covid-19 pandemic. The growth momentum is expected to continue, with the company expecting compounded annual revenue growth of 29% in the four years through 2025.

“We have established a market leadership position in the Southeast Asian property ecosystem and a track record of revenue growth,” Property Guru CEO and managing director Hari V. Krishnan said in a statement. “Much of this success is the result of our investment in technology over the years and capturing strategic growth opportunities in recent times.”

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Founded in 2007, PropertyGuru hosts 2.8 million real estate listings on its digital platform and serves 37 million buyers and 49,000 active property agents across Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

In May, the company agreed to buy REA Group’s units in Malaysia and Thailand. Under that deal, REA Group, which is majority-owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., will get an 18% stake in PropertyGuru.

“Southeast Asia is a unique market in that it has a very high economy growth but lacks quality services in many sectors,” Li, founder and chairman of Pacific Century Group, said in a statement. “Fast growing middle class, increased urbanization and technological disruption create a unique combination.”

Li’s Pacific Century Group and Thiel’s Thiel Capital jointly own Bridgetown 2, a special purpose acquisition company that raised $300 million in its initial public offering in January. Li, a son of Hong Kong’s wealthiest person Li Ka-shing, was ranked the 28th richest person in the city with a net worth of $4.5 billion when the World’s Billionaires List was published in April.

Thiel, cofounder of PayPal, was ranked No. 574 in the U.S. with a net worth of $4.9 billion. He also cofounded CIA-backed big data startup Palantir, which went public via a SPAC in 2020.

Source: Forbes

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