Carousell gains scale in Southeast Asia via a merger with 701Search

Carousell gains scale in Southeast Asia via a merger with 701Search

Online marketplace Carousell has signed a deal with Telenor Group to merge with 701Search, which owns online marketplaces including Mudah in Malaysia, Cho Tot in Vietnam and OneKyat in Myanmar.

The deal is part of a strategy by Carousell to become the biggest online marketplace in Southeast Asia. The company previously merged with OLX in the Philippines.

The online marketplaces had already been working together but via publisher ad data cooperative SMX, sharing data pools, to create a bigger scale for advertisers in Southeast Asia.

As part of the new deal, Telenor becomes the single largest minority shareholder in Carousell (32%), while the deal values Carousell at more than US$850m.

Johan Rostoft, head of online classifieds at Telenor Group, said: “We have built a profitable and high-growth marketplace business serving millions of users every single day. This transaction presents an attractive opportunity for us to take the next step in our marketplace journey, and it also simplifies Telenor’s portfolio. We believe that Carousell is the best partner for our online classifieds business in Southeast Asia.”

Carousell has invested heavily into its platform in recent years while standing firm on its commitment to be a free service to customers. The company has a vision called ‘Classifieds 4.0’, which is part of a plan to make ‘the selling and buying of second-hand a first choice’.

Quek Siu Rui, Co-founder and CEO of Carousell, said: “Our mission has remained the same since day one. We want to inspire every person in the world to start selling and buying. Merging with 701Search will allow us to further this mission on an even greater scale and fortify our leadership in Southeast Asia as Mudah, Cho Tot and OneKyat are already leaders in their markets. I am excited to work with our new teammates to learn about the dynamics of these local markets, create win-win opportunities that are mutually beneficial for our community of users, and inspire even more people to start selling and buying.”

The company has also made significant hires into its business, including Singapore Press Holdings' deputy chief marketing officer and senior vice president of sales strategy and operations, Su-Lin Tan, as its new vice president of operations. More recently, it appointed Lewis Ng as chief commercial officer and JJ Eastwood as managing director of advertising.

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