AirAsia’s deal with Gojek Thailand brings it closer to its ‘Super App’ dream

AirAsia’s deal with Gojek Thailand brings it closer to its ‘Super App’ dream. Source: AirAsia

AirAsia’s deal with Gojek Thailand brings it closer to its ‘Super App’ dream

  • AirAsia will be buying  Gojek’s Thailand business in a stock swap.
  • It could, in turn, give Gojek a boost in Thailand where the startup has lagged in food delivery and ride-hailing competitors.
  • Gojek will focus on increasing investment in Vietnam and Singapore after the deal is completed.
  • The low-cost airline considers listing of its digital arm via a SPAC in the United States to raise at least US$300 million.

AirAsia Group Bhd’s digital ambitions looks set to soar to greater heights with its first major cross-border acquisition. Through AirAsia Digital Sdn Bhd (AAD), the company has acquired Indonesian unicorn Gojek’s Thailand business. At the same time, the digital arm of the low-cost carrier is considering listing in the US via a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) to raise at least US$ 300 million.

Its acquisition of Gojek Thailand’s operations for US$50 million in shares of its AirAsia Super App will leave Gojek with a 4.76% stake in the app. The deal values the AirAsia SuperApp division at around US$1 billion, while Gojek’s Thai business has been valued at a total of $50 million, AirAsia said in a stock exchange filing.

In a virtual press conference, AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes added that Gojek’s investment is valued at US$40 million, while GoPay’s is at US$10 million. These will be transferred into shares for the AirAsia Super App, which is valued at US$1 billion. Gojek’s app in Thailand will run until the end of July while AirAsia plans to launch its super app in early August.

“By taking on Gojek’s well-established Thai business, we’ll be able to turbocharge our ambitions in this space to become a leading ASEAN challenger super app,” said Fernandes.

AirAsia also plans to buy Velox Technology (Thailand) Co., which provides mobile applications to connect individual drivers, merchants, and other service providers, for US$40 million. Through its subsidiary AirAsia Superapp, the airline will also acquire Velox Fintech Co., which offers fintech services, for US$10 million.

What’s in it for Gojek and Thailand?

The deal would allow Gojek to increase investments in Vietnam and Singapore, the companies said. It also signals how Gojek is reshaping its regional business following its announcement in May that it would merge with Tokopedia — one of Indonesia’s largest e-commerce platforms — to form GoTo.

CEO of Gojek, Kevin Aluwi, during an online news conference that talks between the companies began around two months ago.

“When we look at where we could really deploy our product and engineering resources, not just capital. We decided that our priority was to invest in Singapore and Vietnam, just because of the scale of business we have in those markets.” He added that the company can find “a path to market leadership” in the two countries.

“When we realized that we couldn’t properly commit the right resources to Thailand, we ensured we could find the right partner with the commitment and resources. But we remain as committed as ever to growing our markets outside of Indonesia,” he added.