Southeast Asia's Grab eyes $40 bln U.S. listing

Southeast Asia's biggest ride-hailing and food delivery firm Grab is in talks to go public.

The move would be through a merger with a U.S. special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC.

People familiar with the matter told Reuters a deal would make it the largest ever such transaction, valuing it at nearly $40 billion.

Two sources said on Friday (March 12) that Grab was in talks with Silicon Valley-based firm Altimeter Capital Management.

But had also held discussions with other so-called SPAC companies.

SPACs are exchange-listed shell companies that raise money through IPOs, and then merge with firms by enticing them with shorter listing timelines.

Singapore-based Grab has expanded rapidly from its beginnings as a ride-hailing firm in 2012.

It's currently worth more than $16 billion, making it Southeast Asia's most valuable startup.

Backers include Japanese investment giant SoftBank.

Reuters first reported in January that Grab was thought to be exploring a listing in the U.S.

The sources say that a traditional listing could still be chosen over a SPAC deal.

Altimeter did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on Friday, while Grab declined comment.