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PropertyGuru plans US listing through blank check merger

By Andreas Ismar

04:18, 26 July 2021

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Southeast Asia online realty listing platform PropertyGuru plans to go public through a merger with Bridgetown 2, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) backed by Peter Thiel and Richard Li.

The deal is expected to net $431m proceeds, with $299m coming from Bridgetown 2 and the rest from Baillie Gifford, Naya, REA Group, Akaris Global Partners, and a Malaysian asset manager, PropertyGuru said in a statement on 24 July.

The deal, which will see the combined entity’s equity at $1.8bn, is expected to close in late 2021 or early 2022. Merrill Lynch (Singapore), Citigroup, KKR Capital Markets Asia and TPG Capital are serving as placement agents to Bridgetown 2.

Tapping offline to online migration

PropertyGuru, which has presence in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, said it hosts more than 2.8 million monthly real estate listings and serves 37 million monthly property seekers and 49,000 active property agents.

In an investor presentation, the company said that in terms of online penetration of real estate advertising, the Southeast Asian markets are roughly 10 years behind the more developed markets of UK and Australia (ranging 24%-64% compared with UK’s 84% and 94% in Australia), placing the company in strong position for offline to online consumer migration.

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“The market for property is probably the oldest market in the world, and only now is it beginning to change rapidly. As PropertyGuru spearheads that change in Southeast Asia, Bridgetown 2 will provide capital and expertise to accelerate it even further,” said Peter Thiel, president of Thiel Capital.

Post pandemic recovery

“This process of becoming a public company will provide us with greater financial resources to do what we do best – helping people find, finance and own their homes in an efficient and transparent manner,” said PropertyGuru chief executive and managing director Hari V Krishnan. 

The COVID pandemic has lowered PropertyGuru’s revenue from $66.6m in 2019 to $61.9m last year. The company expects revenue to pick up pace starting this year, hitting $75.7m in 2021 before growing by over 40% to $109.3m in 2022.

In 2020, Singapore contributed around 57% of the company’s revenue, followed by Vietnam at 22%.

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