LinkedIn, Zynga Founders’ SPAC to List Air-Taxi Firm Joby

A blank-check company formed by LinkedIn Corp. founder Reid Hoffman and Zynga Inc. founder Mark Pincus agreed to merge with Joby Aviation as a means to take the air-taxi startup public.

Reinvent Technology Partners’ purchase of Joby values the combined company at $6.6 billion and is expected to provide about $1.6 billion in proceeds, the partners said in a statement Wednesday. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter and list Joby Aviation on the New York Stock Exchange.

Special purpose acquisition companies like Reinvent have been snapping up startups in alternative-energy transportation, many of them tied to electric vehicles. Joby makes electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing aircraft aimed at transporting passengers above traffic in urban settings.

LinkedIn, Zynga Founders’ SPAC to List Air-Taxi Firm Joby

The company has a strategic partnership with Toyota Motor Corp. for production and recently acquired Uber Elevate, the air-taxi operation of ride-sharing company Uber Technologies Inc., which remains an investor. Joby last year agreed with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on certification standards for eVTOLs and received airworthiness approval from the Air Force.

Under the deal with Reinvent, both parties agreed to a long-term lockup on founder shares for as long as five years. Proceeds are expected to fund Joby through the launch of passenger service, including certification and development of manufacturing facilities.

Reinvent shares rose as much as 9.9% to $14.23 in New York trading Wednesday and were up 2.7% to $13.30 at 9:43 a.m.

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