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Funds News

UPDATE 3-Thiel-backed Bridgetown targets Indonesia's Tokopedia for merger - source

(Recasts with sourcing, adds details)

SINGAPORE, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Indonesia’s largest e-commerce firm Tokopedia has received a merger approach from blank-check acquisition firm Bridgetown Holdings Ltd, but hasn’t decided whether to pursue a deal, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Bridgetown has also held talks with other Southeast Asian companies in the last few months, but hasn’t finalised a merger, said the source, who declined to be identified as he was not authorised to speak about the matter.

Bridgetown, backed by Asian tycoon Richard Li and Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, raised $595 million in an upsized U.S. initial public offering in October.

It joined a frenzy of fund raisings by so-called blank-check, or special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), which raise money and then aim to acquire private companies, helping them go public.

A SPAC deal is a possible option for Tokopedia, said another source with knowledge of the matter.

Tokopedia could be valued between $8 billion and $10 billion as Bridgetown considers a merger with the company, Bloomberg News reported earlier.

Bridgetown declined to comment while Tokopedia did not respond to a Reuters request for comment. Bridgetown’s shares jumped 18%.

Tokopedia, backed by SoftBank Group Corp and Alibaba Group Holding, declared plans earlier this year to start preparing for a public listing but is facing increasing competition from SEA’s Shopee, the biggest e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia.

Tokopedia, which raised $350 million from Google and Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings in November, had not met its aim of raising at least half a billion in its latest round, according to the second source.

Founded in 2009, Tokopedia provides an online marketplace that allows individuals and businesses in Indonesia to open their own online stores.

According to public documents, Tokopedia is also a major shareholder in OVO, one of Indonesia’s largest e-wallets. (Reporting by Anshuman Daga and Fanny Potkins; Additional reporting by Ayanti Bera in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel, Sumeet Chatterjee and Mark Potter)

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