Tue, 8 June 2021, 6:29 pm

By Fion Li and Elffie Chew

(Bloomberg) — Bridgetown 2 Holdings Ltd., the blank-cheque company backed by billionaires Richard Li and Peter Thiel, is in advanced talks to merge with Singapore’s online real estate firm PropertyGuru, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The special purpose acquisition company has been in discussions with PropertyGuru on the potential deal, which could be announced as soon as next month, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. A transaction could value the combined firm at as much as US$2 billion, the people said.

Shares in Bridgetown 2 Holdings rose 5.7% in pre-market trading in New York.

PropertyGuru, backed by private-equity firms KKR & Co. and TPG Capital, is considering a U.S. listing through a merger with a SPAC and has held preliminary talks, Bloomberg News reported in March.

Deliberations are ongoing and could still be delayed or fall apart, the people said. PropertyGuru Chief Executive Officer Hari V. Krishnan said the company is always looking to any beneficial scenario to fund its growth but declined to comment further. A representative for Bridgetown 2 Holdings declined to comment.

Founded by entrepreneurs Steve Melhuish and Jani Rautiainen in 2007, PropertyGuru has become a household name in the property-crazed Singapore. The real estate marketplace also has operations in countries including Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

The company scrapped plans for an initial public offering on the Australian stock exchange back in 2019 over valuation concerns. In September, it announced US$300 million in new funding from investors including existing backers KKR and TPG. Last week, the startup inked a deal for REA Group Ltd.’s operating entities in Malaysia and Thailand, marking the biggest acquisition in its 14-year history.

Bridgetown 2 Holdings raised about US$300 million in a U.S. IPO in January. The blank-cheque company set out in its prospectus that it will focus on targets in the so-called “new economy sectors” including technology, financial services or media in Southeast Asia.

Bridgetown Holdings Ltd., the first SPAC backed by Li and Thiel, is in advanced talks to merge with Indonesia’s Traveloka, Bloomberg News reported in April.

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.