After a record 2021, public mergers and acquisitions via special-purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) fell off the cliff in the first quarter of 2022.
Today, Chinese electric vehicle tech startup CH-AUTO Technology Corp announced that it has agreed to an initial public offering with a US blank check company valued at nearly $1.7 billion. The Mountain Crest Acquisition Corp IV deal is valued at $1.25 billion in equity and has net debt of $460 million, the two companies said Monday.
According to the announcement, the combined company plans to operate under the name CH Auto Inc and be listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2022, with Qun Lu, Founder and CEO of CH-AUTO, at the helm of the combined company.
In a statement, Lu said: “The last two years have been quite challenging for us. We had to scale back our operations by slowing down the vehicle and auto parts manufacturing businesses.” Lu added, “By entering into this definitive merger agreement with Mountain Crest, we expect positive and rebounding impacts.”
Meanwhile, SPAC Mountain Crest Acquisition Corp raised $50 million in an IPO last June.
CH-AUTO will be the latest in a series of startups to go public via the SPAC route. Last month we wrote about another startup, Ondo, after it became the first InsurTech to go public in the UK via an £8m London SPAC. SPACs account for 60 of the 75 US initial public offerings (IPOs) so far this year, according to data from SPAC analytics firm SPACAnalytics.com.
Sometimes referred to as a blank check company, SPAC is a shell company that has no business but plans to go public to acquire or merge with a company that will use the proceeds from the SPAC IPOs.
Founded in 2003, CH-Auto Technology is an EV tech startup for automotive design and vehicle development solutions. Based in Beijing, China, the company aims to build China’s first domestically developed electric sports car.