In a statement SoftBank-backed robotics firm Berkshire Grey said, it has agreed to go public through a merger with a blank-check company in a deal that values the combined company at $2.7 billion.
The deal is expected to provide Berkshire Grey around $413 million in cash, with the logistics automation systems maker looking to take advantage of the COVID-19-induced surge in online shopping.
With the news reaching the market, Revolution Acceleration’s shares surged by 18.8%.
“Whether it’s the retail, e-commerce, grocery or package fulfillment supply chain, there’s this mission-critical need to automate it. Berkshire Grey is essential for that to happen with their best-in-class technology,” said Revolution Acceleration’s CEO John Delaney.
Following the acquisition, Delaney, a former Congressman, who launched his special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) in December 2020, will join Berkshire Grey’s board.
Berkshire was founded in 2013 by the company’s current founder and CEO Tom Wagner; it develops artificial intelligence-based logistics automation systems for customers, including FedEx Corp, Walmart Inc, and Target Corp, who use its systems in their warehouses and distribution centers.
In 2020, it reported revenues of $35 million.
The proceeds from the deal include a private investment of $165 million anchored by venture capital investor Chamath Palihapitiya and funds and accounts managed by BlackRock Inc.
Incidentally, Palihapitiya has been one of the most prolific sponsors of SPACs. The former Facebook executive has also taken part in PIPE (private investment in public equity) rounds of companies that went public through SPAC deals, including electric bus manufacturer Proterra, metal 3D printing technology provider Desktop Metal Inc, and rare earths miner MP Materials Corp.
Berkshire Grey’s current investors include SoftBank Group Corp, venture capital firm Khosla Ventures, New Enterprise Associates and Canaan Partners, who will be rolling their full equity stake into the combined entity.
Credit Suisse and J.P. Morgan served as exclusive financial advisers to Berkshire Grey and Revolution Acceleration, respectively.