Carsome is acquiring 19.9% of iCar Asia, a Malaysian online classifieds business listed on the Australia Stock Exchange, ASX. Carsome and Catcha Group have also produced a proposal to acquire the remaining 80.1% of iCar Asia, of which Catcha Group is already a backer, for USD 200 million.
If the deal goes through without regulatory hitches, it will create Malaysia’s first unicorn, with 13,000 car dealers serving car buyers in Southeast Asia.
The news comes just a week after Carsome said it had taken a stake in PT Universal Collection, an Indonesian automobile auction house. Details of the deal were not made public, but Carsome said that several investments and acquisitions were in the pipeline.
Carsome’s aggressive moves in the region come just a month after Singapore-based Carro sealed a USD 360 million Series C round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and joined the triple comma club, locking the two companies in an intense race at a time when secondhand automobile e-commerce transactions are climbing in Southeast Asia. Typically, the pre-owned auto sector is resilient when economies slow down, Carsome CEO Eric Cheng told KrASIA in a previous interview.
Secondhand goods marketplace Carousell also has an automotive vertical as part of its platform.
In June, Bloomberg reported that Carsome is considering a SPAC listing in the United States, where Carro is also planning an IPO. Both companies operate in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand.
iCar Asia previously fielded a takeover offer from China’s Autohome. However, the deal did not go through.
Carsome has for years been named as a candidate to be one of the first companies in Malaysia to attain unicorn status. The company appeared to be edging near that goal in June when reports said it was raising new funds that would give the firm a USD 1 billion valuation.