May 11 (Reuters) - Ginkgo said on Tuesday it was planning 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
The merger is expected to fetch $2.5 billion in proceeds for
the combined entity, the companies said, including $775 million
from institutional investors such as Baillie Gifford, Putnam
Investments and accounts advised by ARK Investment Management.
Reuters reported on the company's plans last month.
Founded by a team of scientists at Massachusetts Institute
of Technology in 2009, Ginkgo makes genetic engineering tools
for industries across agriculture, pharmaceuticals and
cosmetics. It currently runs 70 programs with customers
including Moderna and Cargill.
The deal gives Ginkgo a pre-money equity valuation of $15
billion. The company was valued at $4.86 billion during a
private raise in May 2020, according to PitchBook data. It's
also backed by Bill Gates' private investment firm Cascade
"Raising capital allows us to build bigger facilities and
add support services that make it easier for people to develop
on our platform. The public market is a good source of that,"
Ginkgo co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Jason Kelly said.
Boston-based Ginkgo expects $150 million in revenue in 2021,
a 96% jump from a year earlier. It 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
Special purpose acquisition vehicles, 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 its chief financial officer.
Sloan, a former CEO of Metro Goldwyn Mayer, and Sagansky
took gaming firms DraftKings Inc and Skillz Inc public last year
through similar deals.
The Ginkgo deal signals a rebound in activity after Wall
Street appetite for new SPACs showed signs of waning during a
period that saw regulators weigh measures to rein in the pace of
dealmaking through blank-check companies.
Soaring Eagle raised $1.7 billion through an IPO in
(Reporting by Niket Nishant and Noor Zainab Hussain in
Bengaluru, Krystal Hu in New York; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta
and Anil D'Silva)