Indonesia’s ride-hailing and payments giant Gojek is in advanced discussions about merging with local e-commerce pioneer PT Tokopedia, ahead of a planned initial public offering of the combined entity, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The country’s two most valuable startups have signed a detailed term sheet to conduct due diligence of each other’s business, said the people, who asked not to be named as the discussions are private. Both sides see potential synergies and are keen to close the deal as soon as possible in coming months, they said.
The merged entity would create an Indonesian powerhouse with a valuation of about $18 billion, with Gojek and Tokopedia pegged at around $10.5 billion and $7.5 billion respectively in the talks, according to the people involved. Their businesses range from ride-hailing and payments to online shopping and delivery -- a local mashup of Uber Technologies Inc., PayPal Holdings Inc., Amazon.com Inc., and DoorDash Inc. It plans to go public in the U.S. and Indonesia.
“This is potentially a blockbuster deal,” said Usman Akhtar, a partner at Bain & Co. in Singapore. “The deal would have a lot of impact outside of these two companies and have ripple effects that aren’t even all known right now.”
Gojek and Tokopedia have considered a potential merger since 2018, but discussions accelerated after deal talks between Gojek and arch-rival Grab Holdings Inc. reached an impasse, the people said. Grab Chief Executive Officer Anthony Tan continues to resist pressure from SoftBank Group Corp.’s Masayoshi Son to give up some control in a combined entity with Gojek, said the people.
Southeast Asia’s two most valuable startups -- together worth about $25 billion -- held on-and-off talks to combine after years of fierce competition in ride-hailing, food delivery and financial technology. As recently as December, the companies were said to have made substantial progress in working out a deal to combine, people with knowledge of the talks told Bloomberg News at the time. But they clashed over how to manage Indonesia, the key market in the region.
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