Ginkgo Bioworks Exploring Over $20 Billion Sloan SPAC Deal

Ginkgo Bioworks, a company that designs organisms that can treat liver disorders or recreate the scent of an extinct Hawaiian hibiscus, is considering going public through a merger with a blank-check company backed by Harry Sloan, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Boston-based Ginkgo is exploring a potential combination with Soaring Eagle Acquisition Corp., said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. A transaction could be valued at more than $20 billion, the people said.

Any deal would rank among the biggest SPAC mergers to date. In 2019 when it last raised funding, Ginkgo was ascribed a valuation of $4 billion, Bloomberg News has reported. There’s no certainty Ginkgo will be able to reach an agreement, and terms of a potential deal could change, the people said.

Representatives for Ginkgo and Soaring Eagle declined to comment.

Soaring Eagle rose 6% to $10.85 a 10:28 a.m. in New York, giving the company a market value of $2.3 billion.

Ginkgo was founded by a group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate students and then-professor Tom Knight. Led by co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Jason Kelly, its investors have included T. Rowe Price Group Inc., Bill Gates’s Cascade Investment LLC, Viking Global Investors and General Atlantic.

While the firm is best known for its efforts to design, modify and manufacture organisms to make industrial processes cheaper and more efficient, its technology is being used to help fight the coronavirus pandemic. It said in November that the U.S. International Development Finance Corp. had approved a loan of as much as $1.1 billion, funding that would enable it to “expand ongoing biosecurity efforts” including by optimizing the manufacturing of Covid-19 vaccines and delivering testing.

Sloan, the former Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer CEO, has raised SPACs that have taken public companies including DraftKings Inc. and Skillz Inc. He’s chairman and CEO of Soaring Eagle, which raised $1.7 billion in a February initial public offering.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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