Parent of Social Platform Uplive Is Discussing Deal With E.Merge SPAC

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(Bloomberg) -- Asia Innovations Group Ltd., the startup that operates social platform Uplive, is in talks to go public through a merger with E.Merge Technology Acquisition Corp., according to people with knowledge of the matter.

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Any transaction is set to value the combined company at more than $2 billion, said one of the people, requesting anonymity discussing private negotiations. E.Merge is poised to begin formally canvassing private investment in public equity, or PIPE, investors, for capital to support the transaction, some of the people said. Its company’s revenue more than doubled in 2021 to about $300 million, some of the people said. Terms aren’t finalized and it’s possible a deal is not consummated.

An E.Merge representative declined to comment. An Asia Innovations Group representative didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Asia Innovations Group is led by co-founders Xingzhi “Andy” Tian, Ouyang Yun and Mingling Liu. “Our widespread growth in the first quarter of 2022 shows we are meeting our users’ needs for accessible digital products that foster authentic human connection,” Tian, who is chief executive officer, said in a statement last month.

Founded in 2013, Asia Innovations Group says it serves more than 500 million registered users in over 150 countries and regions. In addition to Uplive, it operates dating apps CuteU and Lamour, online marketplace Hekka and voice-based social app Haya, as well as gaming and payments offerings. The company has received investment from firms including Kleiner Perkins, Yorkville Capital Management, Nicoya Capital Group, White Star Capital and Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger, according to PitchBook data.

E.Merge Technology, led by co-CEOs Jeff Clarke and Guy Gecht, raised $600 million in a July 2020 initial public offering. At the time, E.Merge said it would focus its search on companies in the software and internet technology industries.

Other social networking companies that have struck deals to go public through SPAC mergers include dating app Grindr LLC, former President Donald Trump’s Truth Social and Nextdoor Holdings Inc.

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