Airbnb rejects approach to go public via Ackman’s blank check company

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Billionaire investor William Ackman has contacted short-term home rental company Airbnb about a reverse merger deal with his blank check company, people familiar with the matter say.Discussions are currently not advancing and Airbnb is prioritizing an IPO this year as part of what would be one of the hottest stock market debuts of 2020, the sources said.

Representatives for Airbnb and Ackman declined to comment.

Airbnb said last month it confidentially filed an IPO with U.S. regulators.

Ackman’s Pershing Square approach underscores the breadth and ambition of the types of deals Ackman pursues with the new vehicle, which has raised $ 4 billion through an IPO on the Exchange from New York earlier this year to buy a private company.

A blank check company, or Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC), is a shell company that raises funds through an IPO to buy an operating company, typically within two years.

A deal for Airbnb to valuate the company’s roughly $ 18 billion in a debt deal earlier this year would be the largest PSPC deal ever.

Bloomberg News previously reported on the discussions.

The merger with a SPAC has emerged in recent months as an increasingly popular alternative to an IPO. Sports betting platform DraftKings Inc and electric vehicle maker Nikola Corp went public this year through reverse mergers with PSPCs.

A PSPC can be a faster route to the public market. During a merger with SPAC, the IPO can also publicly share detailed profit forecasts with investors, which is not done during an IPO.

Ackman and his team “are in talks with a number of potential companies that are owned and / or controlled by private equity firms, families, start-up founders, as well as other private companies,” he said. wrote the director in a letter to investors. last week.

At the end of August, Ackman’s Pershing Square Holdings portfolio returned 46%.

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