X-energy to go public via $2 billion blank-check deal

Dec 6 (Reuters) - X-energy has agreed to merge with blank-check firm Ares Acquisition Corporation (AAC.N) in a deal valued at around $2 billion, the companies said on Tuesday.

Founded in 2009, X-energy develops small modular nuclear reactors and fuel technology for clean energy generation.

The deal is expected to generate cash proceeds of about $1 billion for X-energy from the trust account of the special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Ares, assuming no redemptions. Institutional and strategic investors have also invested or committed $120 million in financing as part of the deal.

Climate awareness and investor interest in sustainable business practices have surged this year with money managers looking to factor in environmental social governance (ESG) policies as impact-investing gains momentum.

Still, the SPAC market has been on a downtrend slide amid increased regulatory scrutiny and poor stock performance of firms that did such deals.

The De-SPAC Index (.DESPACTR) that tracks a basket of companies that have listed through SPAC mergers is down roughly 70% so far this year.

A SPAC is a listed shell company that merges with a private company, taking it public in the process.

After the deal closes, which is expected in the second quarter of 2023, the combined entity will be named X-Energy Inc.

Reporting by Manya Saini in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri

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