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Carousell, L Catterton Said in $1.5 Billion SPAC Deal Talks

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(Bloomberg) -- Carousell Pte, a Singapore-based online classifieds marketplace operator, is in talks to go public through a merger with blank-check company L Catterton Asia Acquisition Corp., according to people familiar with the matter.

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A transaction could value the combined entity at as much as $1.5 billion, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Carousell has entered into exclusive talks with the special purpose acquisition company, the people said.

The U.S.-listed SPAC is backed by L Catterton, the $30 billion buyout firm minority-owned by Paris-based luxury goods company LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE and billionaire Bernard Arnault’s investment firm.

The SPAC plans to carry out due diligence on Carousell over the coming weeks with the goal of reaching a merger agreement as early as this quarter, the people said. The deal may include a private investment in public equity, or PIPE, worth a few hundred million dollars, the people said.

Considerations are ongoing and there’s no certainty the talks will result in a deal, the people said, adding details such as timing and valuation could change. Representatives for Carousell and L Catterton declined to comment.

Led by managing partners Chinta Bhagat and Scott Chen, the SPAC raised $250 million last year to target a combination with companies in the high-growth, consumer technology sectors across Asia. It is sponsored by L Catterton Asia’s $1.45 billion third fund.

Based in Singapore, L Catterton Asia is a wholly owned fund platform of L Catterton. It also has a presence in Hong Kong, Mumbai, Shanghai, Sydney and Tokyo. It invests in fast growing consumer businesses across the region.

The platform Carousell was founded in 2012 and now counts Telenor Group, Rakuten Ventures, Naver, and Sequoia Capital India among its backers. The firm has since expanded to eight markets across Southeast Asia, Taiwan and Hong Kong, allowing users to buy and sell a diverse range of products from cars to gadgets and fashion accessories. It runs several online marketplaces including Carousell, Chotot.com in Vietnam, Mudah in Malaysia and OneKyat in Myanmar, according to its website.

The company has been exploring a U.S. listing via a SPAC deal, Bloomberg News reported in June, joining a growing list of companies across Southeast Asia. Ride-hailing provider Grab Holdings Ltd. and Altimeter Growth Corp. completed one of the largest SPAC deals ever in December. Also last year, Singapore’s online real estate firm PropertyGuru Pte agreed to go public through a merger with Bridgetown 2 Holdings Ltd., the blank-check company backed by billionaires Richard Li and Peter Thiel.

(Updates with background on the blank-check firm in seventh paragraph.)

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