Carousell reportedly in talks to acquire 99 Group for US$150M

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Online classifieds company Carousell is in talks to acquire Singapore-based real estate tech firm 99 Group for US$150 million in a cash-and-stock deal.

In Singapore, 99 Group operates 99.co, SRX.com.sg and iProperty.com.sg, while in Indonesia, it operates 99.co/id and Rumah123.com.

A source that’s familiar with the matter told The Business Times that the acquisition is part of Carousell’s monetisation strategy as it doubles down on high-value transactions.

However, negotiations with 99 Group are apparently still underway, and might not necessarily guarantee a successful deal.

This potential acquisition comes amid Carousell’s plans to list in the United States via a SPAC merger with L Catterton Asia Acqusition Corp.

This transaction could value the combined entity at up to US$1.5 billion (S$2 billion).

According to sources, the SPAC is looking at carrying out due diligence on Carousell and it plans to reach a merger agreement as early as this quarter.

Why 99 Group though?

Carousell has been betting big on high-ticket categories such as property, automobile and luxury goods through a series of acquisitions.

According to Crunchbase, it has acquired five different companies — Watch Over Me, Caarly, Duriana, 701Search, and most recently, Ox Street — over the years. Other acquisitions that it has made include OneShift and OLX Philippines.

99 Group could potentially be the latest addition to its portfolio as it fits its growth strategy.

darius cheung 99.co 99 group
Darius Cheung, founder and CEO of 99 Group / Image Credit: Beamstart

In February 2021, 99 Group reported a 66 per cent increase in revenue for 2020 at US$5.5 million despite Covid-19 challenges. The firm had attributed the strong results to an increase in subscriptions, partnerships, and package offerings.

99 Group is also looking at strengthening its presence across Southeast Asia, and this potential sale would help it fuel its expansion plans in markets such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, which it entered last year.

The deal could also help 99 Group better compete with rival company PropertyGuru, which has presence in the same five markets.

In July 2021, PropertyGuru had announced that it will be pursuing a deal to go public through a merger with Bridgetown 2 Holdings, the blank-cheque company backed by billionaires Richard Li and Peter Thiel. This transaction could value the combined entity at about US$1.8 billion.

Previously, the company had scrapped plans for an initial public offering on the Australian stock exchange back in 2019 over valuation concerns.

Featured Image Credit: Carousell





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