Lotus Tech wants to be a serious player in the high-end EV space.
Lotus Technology, the electric-car division operating under the iconic Lotus brand owned by Geely, has merged with a blank-check company called L Catterton Asia Acquisition Corp. According to a statement from Lotus Technology, the transaction values the combined entity at around $5.4 billion, with the special purpose acquisition company's sponsor having links to the world's wealthiest man, Bernard Arnault. The goal to take Lotus Tech public has been under discussion for around a year, with a $4.5-billion valuation being announced in September. Previous reports estimated that the Lotus Tech division would hit the stock market at an even higher value of between $6.8 and $8.1 billion.
Lotus Tech - instead of going the IPO route - is set to merge with an SPAC whose sponsor combined with the private equity operations of LVMH, a luxury-goods company led by Arnault. A spokeswoman said that LVMH is a passive minority investor in L Catterton. As recently as last month, Arnault supplanted Elon Musk as the richest man in the world. As part of the completed merger agreement, the combined company will retain its Lotus Technology Inc. name and its ordinary shares will be listed on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol "LOT."
This latest merger will help the EV maker reach its goals and emerge as a genuine Ferrari and Aston Martin threat. Already, the powerful Lotus Eletre electric SUV has been revealed; this high-performance SUV makes up to 905 horsepower and will start at over $100,000 when it arrives in the USA in 2024.
"This is an exciting time for Lotus Tech as we work towards delivering our first fully electric hyper SUV, applying our innovation and engineering expertise to meet the rising global demand for luxury EVs," said Mr. Qingfeng Feng, CEO of Lotus Tech. "In L Catterton, we have found a partner with an impressive track record of not only building iconic premium brands and creating value for companies by leveraging worldwide consumer expertise, but also bringing them to public markets and powering their long-term development."
This move by Lotus Tech follows the Porsche initial public offering in September last year when the maker of the 911 started trading on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Not long after that, we learned that Maserati could follow suit as all these high-end brands look to generate the funds necessary to transition into the electric era.
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