retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal reports that Grab Holdings, which operates "a ride-hailing, food-delivery and digital-wallet group that operates across much of Southeast Asia," announced that it "would go public on the Nasdaq Stock Market by merging with a special-purpose acquisition company, securing a near-$40 billion valuation in a new milestone for the SPAC boom that has swept U.S. financial markets."

The move means that Grab's valuation has doubled in less than two years.  Grab is going to merge "with Altimeter Growth Corp., a SPAC sponsored by Altimeter Capital, of Menlo Park, Calif. … The Grab merger adds to a frenzy of SPAC-related deal making. A record $99 billion has been raised in the U.S. by a total of 306 SPACs this year, according to SPAC Research data, and some 435 of these vehicles are still seeking a merger target.

The Journal offers some context:  "Grab, which started in 2012 as a ride-hailing service in Southeast Asia, has turned itself into a superapp, a single platform that provides a range of services. As part of this, Grab offers food and grocery delivery and financial services. Its top backers include the SoftBank Vision Fund, Uber Technologies Inc. and Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing.

"Grab has had more than 214 million app downloads across the eight Southeast Asian countries where it operates. The pandemic has bolstered Grab’s delivery services, as drivers were able to switch from transporting customers to carrying deliveries, a flexibility that wouldn’t be possible in many developed countries."

KC's View:

 Have to wonder if these sorts of combos - platforms that serve as ride-hailing, food-delivery and digital-wallet entities - are going to be the wave of the future, as aggressive entrepreneurs, looking to dominate and grow their niches, try to combine components in a way that will appeal to all this money that seems to be looking for a home.