Malaysia-based used car platform Carsome Group said Tuesday it has partnered with Catcha Group—controlled by tycoon Patrick Grove—to take Australian-listed rival iCar Asia private in a deal valued at $200 million.
Under the proposed deal, Carsome will buy 19.9% of iCar Asia from Catcha in a share swap that will make Catcha a shareholder of Carsome. The duo will then acquire the remaining 80.1% in iCar Asia.
The transaction comes as Carsome is reportedly planning to list in the U.S. at a $2 billion valuation, either through a backdoor listing with a special purpose acquisition company or via a conventional initial public offering.
“This is the first step toward consolidation to form the largest digital automotive group in terms of revenue, user base, largest live listings, and the best end-to-end fulfillment capability in the region,” Eric Cheng, cofounder and group CEO of Carsome, said in a statement.
The combined entity is targeting revenues of $1 billion this year across the used-car buying and selling online platforms in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore. The transaction also cements Carsome’s position as Southeast Asia’s most valuable digital automotive marketplace and Malaysia’s first tech unicorn, the company said.
“We are excited to join Carsome as shareholders and work with Eric and his team to expand our leadership position and look forward to helping the combined business dominate the $55 billion digital automotive space in Southeast Asia in the years ahead,” Grove, founder and group CEO of Catcha, said.
Grove, 46, has interests in digital businesses through privately held Catcha Group and Australia-listed Frontier Digital Ventures. In May 2020, he sold on-demand video service Iflix for $50 million to Chinese tech giant Tencent. With a net worth of $365 million, Grove was ranked No. 45 on the Malaysia Rich List that was published last month.