BlackRock-Backed Arrival in Talks to Go Public Via SPAC

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Arrival Ltd., a maker of electric vans and buses backed by investors including BlackRock Inc., is in talks to combine with CIIG Merger Corp., a blank-check firm, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

CIIG, a special purpose acquisition company, is in discussions with investors about raising $400 million to $500 million in new equity to support a transaction for the startup, said some of the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. The enterprise value of the combined company is set to be $5 billion to $6 billion, one of the people said.

Terms could change, and as with any deal that hasn’t been finalized, talks could collapse. A representative for Arrival didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment, and CIIG declined to comment.

Founded in 2015, London-based Arrival is led by Chief Executive Officer Denis Sverdlov. The company said last month it had raised $118 million from funds managed by BlackRock. It said proceeds would be used to support growth, including beginning production at a so-called micro-factory in South Carolina. That fundraising round valued the company at about 3 billion euros ($3.6 billion), according to BloombergNEF.

Arrival has said its other investors include Hyundai Motor Co., Kia Motors Corp. and United Parcel Service Inc. UPS has ordered 10,000 vehicles equipped with advanced driver-assistance systems such as automated braking and lane-change warnings, which could lead to autonomous movements within the company’s facilities.

Annual electric van sales will grow to 2.3 million units in the U.S., Europe and China by 2030, BloombergNEF has estimated, projecting that large fleet operators such as Amazon.com Inc., DHL and Anheuser-Busch InBev SA will drive demand.

Other electric-vehicle startups including Nikola Corp. and Fisker Inc. have agreed to go public through SPAC mergers, and Lion Electric Co. is among companies pursuing a blank-check deal, Bloomberg News has reported.

CIIG, led by chairman and CEO Peter Cuneo, raised about $260 million in a December 2019 initial public offering.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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