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Online Classifieds Marketplace Carousell Eyes $1.5B SPAC

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Singapore-based Carousell is looking at going public by merging with a so-called blank-check company in the U.S. Sources told Bloomberg that the multinational operator of online classified advertising is working with an adviser.

The deal could value Carousell as much as $1.5 billion, said sources, who asked for anonymity because the matter is private. The merger could happen as soon as the end of the year, per Bloomberg.

A blank-check, or special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), raises money by going public. The SPAC then looks for a company or companies with actual operations to buy up.

A number of other Southeast Asian companies are looking at going public in the U.S. through the SPAC method — which is an alternative to the traditional initial public offering (IPO) of stock. These include Malaysia’s online used-car platform Carsome Sdn, Indonesia’s, PropertyGuru Pte and Grab Holdings.

Bloomberg said that discussions regarding Carousell were only preliminary.

Carousell launched its marketplace in 2012. Investors include Telenor Group, Rakuten Ventures, Naver, and Sequoia Capital India. The online marketplace now covers eight markets across Southeast Asia, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

The online service, allows users to buy and sell a wide range of products — from cars to  gadgets, fashion accessories and even cleaning services. The company has operations, for example, in Vietnam, Malaysia and Myanmar.

Carousell has reeled in investors since being founded, including $85 million several years ago.

All told, 2020 was a banner year for eCommerce. In the U.S., consumers went online to shop more than ever before, whether they were buying retail goods, groceries or food for delivery.

Digital marketplaces become central shopping spots. Whether it was businesses selling on AmazonWalmart and Poshmark, or individuals selling arts and crafts or hand-me-downs on EtsyCraigslist and eBay, sellers across the U.S. used marketplaces to offer new and used goods to shoppers nationwide.

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