Grove Collaborative to go public via $1.5 bln deal with Branson-backed SPAC

REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Dec 8 (Reuters) - Natural consumer products maker Grove Collaborative on Wednesday agreed to go public through a merger with a blank-check firm backed by billionaire Richard Branson, in a deal valuing the combined entity at about $1.5 billion, including debt.

Grove, which makes eco-friendly household cleaning, personal care, kid and pet products, said the deal with Virgin Group Acquisition Corp II would provide the company with proceeds of up to $435 million.

That includes a $87 million investment from an affiliate of the sponsor of VGII and Grove investors, including Lone Pine Capital, Sculptor Capital Management, General Atlantic and Paul Polman.

The deal comes at a time of growing global demand and investor interest for sustainable products. Last month, eco-friendly sneaker maker Allbirds Inc (BIRD.O) fetched a valuation of $3.3 billion in its New York debut.

In 2019, Branson-backed Virgin Galactic (SPCE.N) went public through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) led by venture investor Chamath Palihapitiya.

A SPAC is a publicly listed shell company that raises funds with the intention of merging with a private company within two years of floating its shares. The private firm goes public through the merger.

After the deal closes, Grove will list on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "GROV".

Reporting by Manya Saini in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel

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