Graf Acquisition IV, based in The Woodlands, is to take NKGen Biotech public, in deal that values the company at $160 million.
NKGen is based in Santa Ana in California and is developing cell therapies for possible treatment of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and other neurodegenerative and oncological diseases. The company is currently owned by NKMax, a public company based in South Korea.
Graf Acquisition IV went public in May 2021 in an $150 million Initial Public Offering. It had two years to complete a deal or otherwise return the money to shareholders. That date could be extended by shareholder agreement. Graf is now planning an extension to September 2023, by which time the deal with NKGen should be completed.
The first Graf Acquisition special purchase acquisition company (SPAC) went public in October 2018. It took Velodyne Lidar public in September 2020 in a transaction that valued the business at $1.6 billion. The San Jose-based company, which makes radar-like sensors used in autonomous vehicles, had a rocky life as a public company. The original founders clashed with the SPAC and were ousted. Its technology began lagging its competitors. Velodyne Lidar merged with Ouster, another lidar company, in February 2023 in a deal that valued Velodyne at just $200 million.
Graf Acquisition IV was formed by blank check veteran James Graf. Mr Graf has served as a founder and executive officer or director of 6 SPACs. Prior to Velodyne Lidar, Mr Graf’s blank check company acquired Williams Scotsman, a business providing modular space solutions, for $1.1 billion.
Graf Acquisition II and III each filed for initial public offerings in 2021 but never completed their IPOs.