April 09, 2021 at 06:58PM

Traveloka is getting closer to going public through a special purposes acquisition company (SPAC) that could value the Indonesian online travel startup at $5 billion, Bloomberg reported on Friday (April 9).

According to Bloomberg News, Traveloka is in “advanced talks” on the deal, which would see the firm merge with Bridgetown Holdings Ltd., a SPAC backed by billionaires Peter Thiel and Richard Li. Sources told Bloomberg the deal would also involve raising $500 million to $750 million through a private investment in public equity, or PIPE.

“The deal would make Jakarta-based Traveloka one of the first Southeast Asian unicorns to go public through a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC,” Bloomberg writes, noting that Grab Holdings Inc. is discussing taking that path with Altimeter Capital in a $40 billion deal.

Bloomberg’s sources say Traveloka was valued at around $2.75 billion last year, with Bridgetown raising roughly $595 million in a U.S. initial public offering (IPO) in October. Bridgetown is a collaboration between Thiel Capital in Los Angeles, Thiel’s personal investment vehicle, and Pacific Century Group, Li’s Hong Kong-based investment company.

As PYMNTS reported in February, Traveloka CEO Ferry Unardi has called SPACs a “very efficient” way of going public, allowing the company to focus on execution and growth.

He made these comments to Bloomberg TV after a “difficult” 2020.

“We had to assess our organization, business — we had to make very difficult decisions,” Unardi said, noting that Traveloka plans to invest more in its new “travel now, pay later” product to attract additional travelers.

Despite the difficulties stemming from COVID-19 and the resulting economic crisis, Unardi said the company’s travel business is now back to being profitable as coronavirus restrictions are loosened — even with fewer people traveling.

Since its founding nine years ago, Traveloka has expanded beyond Indonesia to include six other countries in southeast Asia as well as Australia, with the aim of giving travelers an easier time when booking flights and lodging across countries.

Bloomberg says that Traveloka, like other startups in its region, has attempted to entice customers with other services such as finance in addition to tis travel, lifestyle and accommodations offerings.

Traveloka Could Go Public Via SPAC At $5 Billion Valuation …

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