Electric vehicle maker Fisker Inc. is in talks to go public through a sale to a so-called blank-check acquisition company, modeled after a successful deal earlier this year by peer Nikola Corp., people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
Nikola shares are up more than 60 percent since it went public last month through such a deal, as investors place bets on which startup will be the next Tesla Inc. Earlier this month, autonomous vehicle technology company Velodyne Lidar agreed to be bought by blank-check company Graf Industrial Corp. for $1.6 billion, fueling a rally in the latter’s shares.
Spartan Energy Acquisition Corp., which is backed by private equity firm Apollo Global Management Inc., is leading a bidding war among special purpose investment firms for Fisker, and could clinch a deal for close to $2 billion as early as next week, the sources said.
The sources requested anonymity as the deal talks are confidential. Fisker and Spartan declined to comment.
Spartan's shares rallied on the news and surged 39 percent to close at $14.99 in New York on Thursday.
On Tuesday, Fisker said it has raised $50 million from hedge fund veteran Louis Bacon, with the money going toward engineering for the SUV it aims to roll out in 2022.
The deal, done through Bacon’s private investment vehicle Moore Strategic Ventures LLC, values Fisker at more than $1.6 billion a person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.
The Torrance, Calif.-based EV startup was founded by Henrik Fisker, who is best known for designing luxury cars at BMW and Aston Martin. He made a previous attempt at an EV.
However, Fisker Automotive, the company that manufactured it, filed for bankruptcy in 2013 and its remaining assets were bought by Chinese auto parts maker Wanxiang Group in 2014.
Now he’s betting that the Fisker Ocean, unveiled at the CES in Las Vegas earlier this year, can be a viable rival to Tesla Inc.
Bloomberg contributed to this report.