Category Archives: SPAC

Houston robotics company to be taken public by SPAC

Nauticus Robotics, a Houston-based marine robotics company, is to be taken public by a CleanTech Acquisition Corp, a SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Corporation). The deal values Nauticus at $377 million enterprise value. CleanTech completed its $150 million IPO in July 2021.



Until recently, the company was called Houston Mechatronics. It was founded in 2014 by Nicholaus Radford, who previously worked at NASA and Oceaneering. The company has its head office in Webster, two miles from the NASA Johnson Space Center and employs about 25 former NASA robot engineers . Existing investors in the business include Schlumberger and Transocean. Angie Berka, the Director of Finance and Administration, is also a shareholder.

Currently, manned service vessels are used to service the offshore energy sectors. Nauticus is developing tetherless, autonomous electric-powered robots that can be controlled by staff onshore. The company plans to rent out its Aquanaut robot for $25,000-$50,000 a day, less than half the cost of a deepwater rig.

Nauticus also believes the technology can be used for other industries and applications such as ports (to monitor ship traffic), aquaculture (fish farming), offshore wind and data centers, and defence.

For 2021, the company has revenues of $8 million. This is projected to grow to $90 million in 2023 (4x enterprise value) and $202 million by 2024.

Existing shareholders including Schlumberger and Transocean are rolling over their shares. After the deal closes (expected in the second quarter of 2022) the company will have $222 million of cash on hand. $50 million of this will be used to execute the business plan, the rest will be placed in trust for future growth opportunities, including acquisitions.

SEC filing – 8-K

 

Fertitta Entertainment tries to back out of deal with SPAC

[UPDATE 12-09-21 – The deal has now been terminated. FEI will pay the SPAC $6 million immediately and either a further $10 million if the SPAC completes a deal to take another company public or $16 million if they don’t.]

The transaction to take Fertitta Entertainment (‘FEI’) public via a SPAC has effectively collapsed. Although the deal is not officially dead, the two parties have exchanged letters blaming the other for the deal failing to complete by the proposed deadline.



The deal with Fast Acquisition Corp (‘FAST’), a blank check company was announced back in February. The transaction would have seen most of the assets owned by Tilman Fertitta go public (446 restaurants and 5 Golden Nugget Casinos). Mr. Fertitta would have ended up owning 59% after the deal closed.

The deal was expected to close by December 1, 2021. If the deadline passed, the merger agreement allowed either party to terminate the agreement. FEI sent a letter to FAST, stating it would abandon the transaction.

FAST sent a letter in response stating that FEI was not permitted to terminate the agreement because the primary reason for the failure was that FEI didn’t deliver audited financial statements for the year ended September 30, 2020 by March 31, 2021, the deadline in the original merger agreement. FEI’s audited financials were issued August 2, 2021.

Changing Terms

One problem that FAST had was that Mr. Fertitta kept changing the terms of the deal. In late May, FEI proposed adding a bunch of assets, such as certain Vic & Anthony Restaurants, and the Galveston Pleasure Pier, that were originally excluded from the deal.  FAST accepted the revised terms, which would mean that Mr. Fertitta would end up with 79% economic ownership post-close.

In August, the online gaming division of Golden Nugget (GNOG), announced it would merge with DraftKings. FEI own 80% of GNOG, which is publicly-traded. Although that stake was part of the transaction with FAST, the management of FAST were not aware of the deal prior to the announcement.

It’s not clear why the deal has collapsed but Mr. Fertitta holds all the chips in the deal and clearly thinks he has better options elsewhere.

What is curious about the spat is that the two sides amended the merger agreement on June 1 to reflect the additional assets being added. However, there was no mention of a revised date for the financial statements, even though that deadline had come and gone.

FAST may have to liquidate

With the pending collapse of the deal, the management of FAST will have to complete an acquisition by August 2022, otherwise it will have to liquidate its operations and return the $200 million IPO proceeds to shareholders.

SEC filing – 8-K

 

Nabors Energy Transition Corp completes $276 million IPO

Nabors Energy Transition Corp (NETC) has completed its upsized Initial Public Offering by selling 27,600,000 units at $10 apiece.



The SPAC or blank check company intends to acquire a company that is involved in energy transition such as alternative energy, energy storage, emissions reduction and carbon capture.

The sponsor of the SPAC is a company co-owned by Nabors Industries, a global leader in land-based drilling rigs and Tony Petrello, the current Chairman and CEO of Nabors.

In fact, all the management team of the SPAC are employed by Nabors including William Restrepo (CFO), Guillermo Sierra (VP – Energy Transition) and Siggi Meissner (President of Engineering and Technology).

The management team will not be paid a salary by the SPAC until it closes on a transaction. However, to me, it appears that there is plenty of scope for conflicts of interest. In the prospectus, NETC states that ‘potential conflicts with Nabors are naturally mitigated by the differing nature of the investments that Nabors would consider more suitable’.

In August, Nabors issued a press release that ‘it continues investment in energy transition with Quaise Inc’. It provided $12 million in financing to Quiase, a company developing millimeter wave drilling technology to access deep geothermal energy. That technology appears to be within the remit of the SPAC, even if the size isn’t.

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/nabors-energy-transition-corp-announces-closing-of-276-000-000-initial-public-offering-including-full-exercise-of-underwriters-option-to-purchase-additional-units-301429394.html

 

 

 

Two more Houston-area blank check companies go public

Late last week, two more SPACs or blank check companies went public via an Initial Public Offering (IPO).

GoGreen Investments upsized its IPO and raised $240 million. The company is based in downtown Houston and is seeking companies in the clean/renewal energy space.

The company is led by CEO John Dowd, who is based in Massachusetts. He spent 14 years as a portfolio manager of the energy and natural resources sector funds of Fidelity Research and Management.

The CFO is Michael Sedoy, a former portfolio manager at various hedge funds on the east coast. He worked alongside Mr. Dowd, for a short period, at Sanford Berstein in New York

Newhold Investment II raised $175 million. The company is targeting businesses involved in advanced robotics, the Internet of Things, Software as a service with machine learning or new energy technologies.

The company is led by Kevin Charlton, who has taken a number of SPACs public in recent years. He has also worked for McKinsey, NASA and JP Morgan in his career.

One of the SPACs taken public was Newhold I which raised $150 million in July 2020 and took Boston-based Evolv Technology public in July 2021 in a deal that valued the business at $1.25 billion. Evolve is a leader in AI touchless security screening.

A third Houston-based SPAC, SportsMap Tech Acquisition went public earlier in the week.

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/gogreen-investments-corporation-announces-upsizing-and-pricing-of-240-000-000-initial-public-offering-301405061.html

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20211020006140/en/NewHold-Investment-Corp.-II-Announces-Pricing-of-175-Million-Initial-Public-Offering