Automotive lidar technology company Luminar Technologies has agreed to a reverse merger with Gores Metropoulos, a special purpose acquisition company, aka SPAC, sponsored by private equity firm The Gores Group, the company announced Monday.
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Once the transaction is complete, Palo Alto, California-based Luminar Technologies will retain its name and will remain listed on Nasdaq under the new ticker symbol LAZR, the company said.
A SPAC is a “blank check company” that raises money through an initial public offering to buy another company, typically within two years. Nasdaq reported that as of the beginning of August, more than 50 SPACs were formed in the U.S., raising some $21.5 billion. Reuters reported that many auto tech companies were approached by SPACs as a way to raise more capital than private fundraising could provide.
Founded in 2012 by CEO Austin Russell, Luminar manufactures advanced sensor technologies for the autonomous vehicle industry, both cars and trucks. To date, the company has raised a total of $250 million, according to Crunchbase data. The most recent raise was a $100 million venture round made a year ago from a group of investors that included The Westly Group and Peter Thiel.
The merged company will have a valuation of approximately $2.9 billion and a market capitalization of about $3.4 billion, the company said. Russell will continue to serve as CEO, while Alec Gores will join the Luminar board of directors.
The deal includes $400 million in cash from Gores Metropoulos and $170 million in financing for Luminar from an investor group that includes Gores, Van Tuyl Companies, Thiel, Volvo Cars Tech Fund, Crescent Cove, Moore Strategic Ventures, Nick and Jill Woodman and VectoIQ.
Luminar also announced that beginning in 2022, its hardware and software will be integrated into Volvo’s global vehicle platform, and that its technology will also enable a new benchmark for vehicle safety.
“This milestone is pivotal not just for us, but also for the larger automotive industry,” Russell said in a written statement. “Today, we are making our next industry leap through our new long-term partnership with Gores Metropoulos, a team that has deep experience in technology and automotive and shares our vision of a safe autonomous future powered by Luminar.”
Illustration: Dom Guzman