Grab CEO Anthony Tan to get majority voting control in record SPAC deal

Anthony Tan (File photo by Reuters)

Anthony Tan (File photo by Reuters)

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(April 15): Chief executive officer Anthony Tan will receive majority voting control at Grab Holdings Inc as it merges with Altimeter Growth Corp, a corporate governance decision that will tighten his grip over the startup he co-founded less than a decade ago.

Tan, 39, will end up with 60.4% of the voting power while owning a stake of 2.2%, enabled by different share classes, according to a regulatory filing. He holds 2.6% of the current voting power in Grab, matching his ownership of common shares.

Conversely, Grab’s other shareholders will see their voting control diluted. SoftBank Vision Fund, Grab’s biggest shareholder with an 18.6% stake after the merger, will have voting power of just 7.6%. Other major owners include Uber Technologies Inc, Didi Chuxing and Toyota Motor Corp.

The voting arrangement resembles that of Silicon Valley technology giants such as Facebook Inc, where a dual-class share structure gives Mark Zuckerberg super-sized power over the business. While the formula is popular — especially among technology firms — it has invited criticism from investors because of its undemocratic nature.

Grab, Southeast Asia’s most valuable startup, agreed to go public in the US through the largest-ever merger with a blank-check company. The Singapore-based startup is set to have a market value of about US$39.6 billion after the combination with Altimeter Growth, the special purpose acquisition company of Brad Gerstner’s Altimeter Capital Management, the firms said this week.

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