Indonesia’s travel unicorn Traveloka is said to be in talks with potential investors to raise as much as $400 million as part of its plan to go public through a merger with a blank-check company backed by billionaires Richard Li and Peter Thiel, Bloomberg reported.

Quoting people familiar with the matter, the newswire said the fundraising, a so-called private investment in public equity (PIPE), would be part of a deal to merge the online travel startup with Bridgetown Holdings Ltd which could happen as soon as this year.

The merger is set to value the combined entity at about $5 billion, the sources said.

The PIPE amount discussed is about $200 million to $400 million and could still change, the sources added.

Traveloka’s public relations team has yet to respond to TechNode Global’s query at press time.

Earlier in February, Traveloka Chief Executive Offer Ferry Unardi said in a Bloomberg Television interview that the startup is planning to list in the US this year to raise funds using a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

“SPAC is very efficient in terms of timing and for a growing company like us,” he said in the interview then.

Traveloka, which counts Expedia and China’s among its backers, later said in March it has managed to turn a profit in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic while finalizing its listing plan.

Traveloka’s other investors include Rocket Internet SE, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte. It was valued at $3 billion in 2017, according to business analytics platform CB Insights.

Bridgetown Holdings Ltd, the two billionaire’s first SPAC, raised $595 million in a US IPO in October 2020. The company’s sponsor is a collaboration between Thiel Capital, Thiel’s personal investment vehicle based in the US, and Pacific Century Group, a Hong Kong-based investment company led by Li.

Traveloka’s development also came after Southeast Asian online realty company PropertyGuru announced last month it has agreed to go public through a merger with Bridgetown 2 Holdings Ltd, a NASDAQ-listed SPAC backed by Thiel and Li.

Founded in 2012, Jakarta-headquartered Traveloka provides airline ticketing and accommodation booking services online in Southeast Asia and Australia. It has expanded to provide lifestyle products and services, such as attraction tickets, activities, car rental, financial services, among others.

Featured image credits: Traveloka