Bill Gates-backed Heliogen to go public through $2 bln SPAC deal

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Bill Gates, Co-Chair of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation arrives at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, April 16, 2018. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

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July 7 (Reuters) - Bill Gates-backed solar power firm Heliogen Inc will merge with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) to go public in a deal that values the combined entity at about $2 billion, the companies said on Wednesday.

The merger with Athena Technology Acquisition Corp (ATHN.N), a women-led SPAC that raised $250 million in its initial public offering in March, will generate $415 million of proceeds for the combined company.

The proceeds include a $165 million private investment in public equity, or PIPE, from investors such as Morgan Stanley's investment arm Counterpoint Global, Salient Partners and Saba Capital.

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The SPAC is led by Chief Executive Officer Phyllis Newhouse, a retired military officer and cybersecurity veteran, and venture capitalist Isabelle Freidheim, who also co-founded fintech firm Magnifi.

SPACs use the pool of capital they raise through their own initial public offerings to merge with a private company, in a deal that then takes it public.

Heliogen's SPAC deal comes at a time when U.S. solar installations are on track for record-breaking growth over the next three years, according to an industry report released last month.

But the solar industry faces challenges from supply chain bottlenecks and a tight labor market that could lead to slower growth, even as governments ramp up their efforts to fight climate change. read more

Post-merger, the combined company will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "HLGN".

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Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni

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