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Indonesian Travel Startup Tiket Weighs SPAC Merger This Year

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(Bloomberg) -- Tiket.com Chief Executive Officer George Hendrata said his online travel startup is considering going public through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company, confirming an earlier Bloomberg News report.

The Indonesian company is also exploring a traditional initial public offering as well as potentially combining with one of the Southeast Asian super apps, Hendrata said in an interview with Bloomberg TV’s David Ingles and Tom Mackenzie on Wednesday during the Goldman Sachs TechNet Conference Asia Pacific.

If Tiket decides to go public, “it will definitely be within this year,” the CEO said. “Traditional IPO, definitely looking at that, but for the full travel recovery, it will take a year or even two. The SPAC option is quicker.”

Tiket is in talks with COVA Acquisition Corp. for a deal that would value the combined entity at about $2 billion, Bloomberg News reported last week. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is advising Jakarta-based Tiket, according to people familiar with the matter. As part of the deal, Tiket could raise about $200 million in a so-called private investment in public equity, or PIPE, that often accompanies a SPAC merger, they said.

Read more: Indonesian Travel Startup Is Said to Weigh $2 Billion SPAC Deal

Tiket joins a slew of Southeast Asian internet companies considering SPAC listings or IPOs to fuel growth as online commerce gains popularity in the region. Local rival Traveloka is in advanced talks to go public through merging with Bridgetown Holdings Ltd., a blank-check firm backed by billionaires Richard Li and Peter Thiel.

The merger combining Gojek and PT Tokopedia into an Indonesian internet powerhouse is setting up a three-way battle for tech dominance in Southeast Asia against Singapore-based Sea Ltd. and Grab Holdings Inc.

“Everywhere else in the world, online travel platforms tend to be publicly listed companies, hugely profitable,” the CEO said. “If you look at the region, there are a lot of super apps and you have a lot of ecosystems growing, so there might be some opportunity to combine with one or the other. So it’s one of the three options.”

Tiket.com was founded in 2011, a year before Traveloka. It was acquired in 2017 by the diversified conglomerate Djarum Group, which put it under the leadership of Hendrata, previously Djarum’s director of business development and diversification. Tiket’s platform lets consumers buy tickets for flights and trains as well as concerts and other events. Users can also book hotel and rental cars in Indonesia. It has a network of more than 90 airlines, 2.8 million hotels and other lodgings, and more than 400 corporate partners.

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