Skift Take

Are special purpose acquisition companies losing their shine? We'll find out more in the coming months as other travel startups plan to go public.

Indonesia’s Traveloka may not go through with a plan to go public by merging with a special purpose acquisition company (or SPAC) after all, according to reports.

The fast-growing travel booking startup had been due to list through a deal with Bridgetown Holdings, backed by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and Hong Kong investor Richard Li.

To do that, it was first planning to raise between $200 million and $400 million from investors, a process known as private investment in public equity (PIPE). However, Bloomberg has reported Traveloka’s board of directors has decided to pull out of a proposed listing via Bridgetown.

“Taking the company public is a natural evolution given Traveloka’s position as a category leader and aspirations to grow the business further,” a spokesperson for Traveloka told Skift. “We remain committed to this goal and continue to consider the different options available. At the same time, we continue to be well-capitalized and are focused on choosing a path and timing that is in the best interests of the company and its stakeholders.”

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Excitement levels appear to dipping around SPACs, and Traveloka will likely explore going public via a traditional initial public offering in the U.S. instead, the report added.

“I’m assuming there wasn’t a clear deal to be done,” said one partner at a private investment company, who wished to withhold their name.

“In general the craze around SPACs and PIPEs associated with them has dried up. We’ve looked at a number of travel related ones that have come out and my impression is that there is limited investor interest,” he said.

Yet there are more hospitality deals coming up.

In July, Vacasa entered into an agreement to become a publicly traded company via a merger with TPG Pace Solutions, which would value the Portland, Oregon startup at $4.5 billion.

Sonder, meanwhile, hopes to go public at a $2.2 billion market cap. Last month it reported a loss of $54.6 million for its second quarter.

Both will have a lot to prove as they ready to go public. “As much as managers like Vacasa and Sonder might try to pitch themselves as technology companies, they are ops-heavy businesses, and this is going to show in either slower growth than a tech company and/or more problems if and when they scale too quickly,” said Andrew McConnell, CEO of Rented.

UPDATE: This article has been amended to include comment from Traveloka.

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Tags: sonder, spac, Traveloka, vacasa, venture capital

Photo credit: Fast-growing Traveloka had been due to list through a deal with Bridgetown Holdings. Traveloka

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