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UPDATE 2-Biotech firm Ginkgo to merge with Harry Sloan-led SPAC in $17.5 bln deal

05/11/2021 06:32
UPDATE 2-Biotech firm Ginkgo to merge with Harry Sloan-led SPAC in $17.5 bln deal

Adds revenue projection, background

- Ginkgo Bioworks said on Tuesday it plans to go public through a merger with a blank-check vehicle backed by former Hollywood executives Harry Sloan and Jeff Sagansky, in one of the biggest such deals that values the biotech company at $17.5 billion.

The merger is expected to fetch $2.5 billion in proceeds for the combined entity, the companies said. Reuters reported on the company's plans last month. nL4N2M23GJ

Baillie Gifford, Putnam Investments and accounts advised by ARK Investment Management have agreed to invest $775 million in the deal.

Boston-based Ginkgo is backed by Bill Gates' private investment firm Cascade Investment, and received a $1.1 billion loan from the U.S. government in November for COVID-19 testing and production of raw materials for therapies that may help address future pandemics.

Special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, are shell companies that raise funds through an initial public offering to take a private company public through a merger at a later date.

Soaring Eagle is also backed by SPAC veteran Eli Baker, who is the chief financial officer of the company.

Sloan, a former chief executive officer of Metro Goldwyn Mayer, and Sagansky's former SPACs took gaming firms DraftKings Inc and Skillz Inc public last year.

The Ginkgo deal signals a rebound in activity after Wall Street appetite for new SPACs showed signs of waning during a period, which saw regulators weighing measures to rein in the frenetic dealmaking using the investment vehicle.

Soaring Eagle raised $1.7 billion through an initial public offering in February.

Ginkgo expects $150 million in revenue in 2021, a jump of 96% from a year earlier. The deal gives Ginkgo a pre-money equity valuation of $15 billion.

(Reporting by Niket Nishant and Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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