AEye Said in Talks to Go Public Via Cantor Blank-Check Firm

Artificial-perception startup AEye Inc. is in talks to go public through a merger with CF Finance Acquisition Corp. III, a Cantor Fitzgerald LP blank-check firm, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The valuation couldn’t immediately be learned. A deal hasn’t been finalized, and terms could change or talks could collapse. Shares of CF Finance Acquisition Corp. III jumped as much as 32% after Bloomberg reported the discussions.

A Cantor Fitzgerald representative declined to comment. AEye didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Dublin, California-based AEye, led by Chief Executive Officer Blair LaCorte and President Luis Dussan, makes sensor technology, known as lidar, for use in autonomous vehicles. Continental AG, Europe’s second-largest car-parts supplier, acquired a minority stake in AEye in October. Other investors include Kleiner Perkins, LG Electronics, Intel Capital and Airbus Ventures, according to AEye’s website.

CF Finance Acquisition Corp. III, led by CEO Howard Lutnick and President Anshu Jain, raised $230 million in a November initial public offering, with a goal of striking a deal in any industry or geography. “The company intends to focus on industries where its management team and founders have experience, including the financial services, health care, real estate services, technology and software industries,” it said at the time.

An earlier Cantor blank-check firm last year agreed to merge with GCM Grosvenor Inc. in a deal that took the investment manager public. In November, CF Finance Acquisition Corp. II reached a deal with View Inc., a maker of smart windows that use artificial intelligence. In December, Cantor raised $500 million for its fourth special purpose acquisition company, and this month filed for a fifth SPAC.

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