The Korea Herald


Mobility firms invested by SK Holdings prepare for IPOs

By Shim Woo-hyun

Published : April 14, 2021 - 16:12

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SK Headquarters in Seoul (Yonhap) SK Headquarters in Seoul (Yonhap)

SK Holdings’ equity investment in Grab, the Southeast Asian equivalent to Uber, is receiving attention as the ride-hailing app prepares for an initial public offering on the tech-heavy US bourse Nasdaq.

According to the investment-focused holdings firm of SK Group, the Singapore-based startup behind the ride-hailing and food delivery app is planning a floatation via a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC.

Grab’s market value is estimated at around $39.6 billion after it confirmed a merger with Altimeter Growth, the SPAC of Brad Gerstner’s Aktimeter Capital Management.

In case of a successful IPO, the value of SK Holdings’ stake in Grab could increase 2.4-fold to reach 590 billion won ($527 million), local reports said.

In 2018, SK Holdings invested a total of 250 billion won in Grab, along with key shareholders including China’s Didi Chuxing and Japan’s SoftBank.

Grab has expanded rapidly from a ride-hailing startup in Malaysia in 2012 to become a one-stop shop for a wide range of services, including food delivery, payments and insurance, in Southeast Asia. The startup also recently gained a digital bank license in Singapore.

SK Holdings’ investments in other startups also expect an IPO boost.

Israeli startup Otonomo, in which SK Holdings invested 12 billion won in 2018, is preparing for an IPO on the Nasdaq during the second quarter of the year.

Otonomo has developed a data services platform for autonomous and connected cars. The number of vehicles on the platform is around 40 million to date, and the company now has 16 partners, including BMW, Daimler, GM, Ford and Toyota.

SK Holdings expects that Otonomo’s value could reach $1.4 billion when it is listed on the US stock market. The value of SK Holdings’ stake in the data platform company could post a twofold increase accordingly, it added.

Meanwhile, SK Holdings noted that San Francisco-based car-sharing company Turo is exploring a listing in the United States this year.

SK Holdings invested 40 billion won in Turo in 2017.

By Shim Woo-hyun (