SoftBank is set to finalize its first Spac merger by going public with a Walmart-backed artificial intelligence robotics company in a $5.5 billion deal.
Symbotic, an AI startup focused on improving supply chains for retailers, will merge with SVF Investment Corp 3, a SoftBank-funded Spac, the two companies said on Monday.
The white-check merger is the first of its kind for SoftBank, which has raised many Spacs and is on the hunt for suitable private companies to list shares.
The merger comes as the market for white-check companies has cooled significantly since the deal frenzy that engulfed the market earlier in the year. Investor acquisitions have skyrocketed and the market for critical Pipe funding has dried up, forcing companies to look for more expensive forms of funding.
Symbotic, which has deals with retailers including Walmart and Albertsons, uses AI technology to run a fleet of hundreds of robots that move products through warehouses. The Massachusetts-based robotics company said it expects $433 million in revenue in 2022, up more than 73% from 2021.
The deal gives Symbotic an enterprise value of $4.8 billion. The total proceeds of the sale total $725 million and include $205 million raised through Pipe funding from investors including $150 million from retailer Walmart and $320 million. dollars raised from SVF Spac in March.
SoftBank is also investing $200 million in Symbotic through its Vision Fund 2, Units 108 billion dollars has targeted healthcare and software startups, diversifying into a multi-billion dollar bet on urban mobility companies it has made through its Vision First Fund mine. The Japanese conglomerate’s Second Vision Fund has attracted investments from names like Microsoft and Apple, as well as lesser-known institutions including the National Bank of Kazakhstan.
The Spac deal comes as retailers warn they face massive strain from supply chain bottlenecks and labor shortages in the run-up to the busy Christmas trading season.
Following the closure, existing Symbotic shareholders including the company’s chief executive Rick Cohen will own 88% of the company, of which Walmart owns 9% and Spac shareholders hold the remainder.
Shares of SVF Spac were up 0.5% in early morning trading Monday morning. The combined pool will trade on Nasdaq under the ticker SYM.