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

2 minute read

REUTERS/Henry Romero

Register now for FREE unlimited access to

May 11 (Reuters) - 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.

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

Register now for FREE unlimited access to

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.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to
Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.