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The boom in SPAC deals -- five things to know

Pandemic-fueled uncertainty drives popularity of this shortcut to IPO

Grab Holdings plans to go public in the U.S. by merging with a listed SPAC called Altimeter Growth. (Source photo by Ken Kobayashi)

PALO ALTO, U.S. -- Grab Holdings, Southeast Asia's highest-valued startup, said last month that it will go public in the U.S. by merging with a so-called special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, the world's largest blank-check merger to date.

Grab's deal with Altimeter Growth values the "superapp" at almost $40 billion and shows how SPACs are a Wall Street favorite now also attracting interest in Asia.

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