Business

Carousell to merge with 701Search, valuing firm at over $1.16b

Online marketplace operator Carousell, which was started about seven years ago by three friends from the National University of Singapore (NUS), has made another leap in its growth.

The firm has agreed to merge with 701Search, the classifieds firm owned by Norwegian telco Telenor Group, in a deal that values the start-up at over US$850 million (S$1.16 billion).

Following the part-cash, part-equity deal, Telenor will be Carousell's new single-largest minority shareholder, with a 32 per cent stake in the company.

701Search's three online marketplaces - Mudah in Malaysia, Cho Tot in Vietnam and OneKyat in Myanmar - will retain their individual names and operations, but will now report to Carousell chief executive Quek Siu Rui.

Meanwhile, 701Search's regional hub team, which operates from Singapore, will be fully integrated into Carousell.

Carousell's latest deal comes about seven months after classifieds giant OLX took a 10 per cent stake in the start-up, while injecting OLX Philippines into its business. Carousell added about 100 staff in the Philippines through the deal.

Carousell was launched in August 2012 by Mr Quek and his friends, Mr Marcus Tan and Mr Lucas Ngoo. They were inspired by their year-long internships in Silicon Valley start-ups.

The mobile classifieds app focused initially on items like electronics before expanding into categories such as clothing, property, cars and even jobs.

In May, The Straits Times reported that the three co-founders were believed to own 8.75 per cent of the company each, which on paper translated to US$48 million per person.

Said Mr Quek: "Merging with 701Search will allow us to further this mission on an even greater scale and fortify our leadership in South-east Asia as Mudah, Cho Tot and OneKyat are already leaders in their markets." - THE STRAITS TIMES

BUSINESS & FINANCE