Ride-hailing giant Grab slumps 23% in its Nasdaq trading debut after blockbuster SPAC deal

Grab's CEO Anthony Tan and co-founder Tan Hooi Ling celebrate as they attend the Grab Bell Ringing Ceremony at a hotel in Singapore, December 2, 2021.
Grab’s CEO Anthony Tan and co-founder Tan Hooi Ling during the bell ringing ceremony in Singapore, December 2, 2021.

Grab slumped in its first day of trading after a blockbuster $40 billion blank check merger, making the ride-hailing giant the biggest Southeast Asian company to debut on Wall Street.

After opening in the green, shares of Grab tumbled as low as 23% Thursday. The stock was trading 21.34% lower to $8.66 as of 2:30 p.m. ET. 

The Singapore-based firm is trading under the Nasdaq ticker GRAB.

Grab in April agreed to go public via a record-breaking merger with Altimeter Growth Corp, a blank check firm launched by Altimeter Capital Management.

As part of the deal, Grab will receive $4.5 billion in cash, including $4 billion in private investment managed by Morgan Stanley, BlackRock, Singapore holding company Temasek, Fidelity, Altimeter, and T. Rowe Price.

The company was initially targeting July for its US listing but delayed in order to review its financial position.

Grab describes itself as a “superapp” thanks to its wide-ranging services from food deliveries to mobile payments. It began as a ride-hailing firm — acquiring Uber’s Southeast Asian operations in 2018 — but has quickly evolved to cater to consumers’ various needs. It now even offers access to services such as lending, insurance, wealth management, and telemedicine.

Currently, Grab operates in eight countries and 400 cities in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Still, the nine-year-old firm has yet to post a profit. Its third-quarter revenue slipped 9% to $157 million as the pandemic ravaged many small businesses globally thanks to lockdowns and unemployment. Earlier in September, Grab slashed its full-year revenue forecast due to the Delta variant. 

Grab was created by Anthony Tan and Tan Hooi Ling in a Harvard Business School venture competition plan in 2011 and was formally launched in 2012.

The co-founders celebrated the milestone in Singapore during the opening bell ceremony. They were joined by some drivers, merchants, and others on stage during the bell-ringing ceremony in a hotel.

“It’s important to us not to lose sight of what this was all built on,” Tan said in a statement. “That’s why we chose to hold the ceremony close to home. To be here, amongst our community.”


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