Apollo SPAC Agrees to Take Solar Lender Sunlight Public

Sunlight Financial LLC, which provides loans to homeowners for rooftop solar panels, has agreed to go public through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company backed by Apollo Global Management Inc.

The deal with blank-check company Spartan Acquisition Corp. II gives Sunlight an implied equity value of about $1.3 billion, according to a statement Monday. As part of the deal, investors including venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya, Coatue and funds and accounts managed by BlackRock agreed to invest $250 million through a private stock purchase at $10 per share.

Shares of Spartan surged 35% to $15.89 at 9:53 a.m. in New York. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter.

The move comes amid a wave of clean-tech SPAC deals as companies seek to raise capital quickly and investors hunt for businesses poised to capitalize on President Joe Biden’s plan to drastically cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Several deals have involved electric-car or battery companies. Proterra Inc., which makes electric buses and batteries, announced this month it would go public through a blank-check company.

The clean-tech SPAC boom isn’t confined to electric vehicles and batteries. Geoffrey Strong, Spartan’s chief executive officer and a senior partner at Apollo, said many SPACs are interested in the broader clean-tech space, including renewables.

Sunlight, which has operations in New York and Charlotte, is one of the largest U.S. residential-solar finance companies. It also provides loans for roofs, windows and other home-improvement projects. The company, which works with more than 800 solar and building contractors, has originated more than $3.5 billion in loans.

“They’re homeowners so they want to own what’s bolted to the roof,” Sunlight CEO Matt Potere said in an interview.

Solar lending has fueled a surge in installations in recent months. Lenders and investors made at least $6.7 billion available for solar loan underwriters to originate new deals last year through November, according to BloombergNEF.

Another Apollo SPAC, Spartan Energy Acquisition Corp., merged last year with Fisker Inc. The transaction announced in July valued the electric-vehicle maker at $2.9 billion. Fisker had a market capitalization of $4.1 billion on Friday.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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