Tag Archives: SPAC

Houston SPAC to take Infrared Cameras public

 

Sportsmap Tech Acquisition Corp, a Houston SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Company) is to take Infrared Cameras Holdings (“ICI”) public in a $100 million deal.



ICI designs and develops thermal cameras and sensing hardware as well as a proprietary subscription software used to analyze thermal data points. Commercial applications include the detection of methane leaks in wells and pipelines and monitoring of conveyor belt equipment in warehouses. The business presumably got a boost with temperature screening during COVID.

ICI was formed in 1995 and is based in Beaumont, Texas. CEO Gary Strahan has lived there since he was two. He started out as a welder and diver, performing underwater non-destructive testing and then worked for companies developing infrared cameras before starting ICI.

No financial details about ICI were disclosed in today’s announcement.

Sportsmap went public in October 2021 with a $100 million IPO. The business aimed to make an acquisition in sports technology such as wearables, data analytics, new methods of fan engagement, and new esports and gambling platforms. Oh Well!

A couple of names well known to Houston sports fans are also Directors of Sportsmap.

  • Reid Ryan, former President of the Houston Astros. He is the son of Nolan Ryan.
  • Oliver Luck, former General Manager of the Houston Dynamo and former CEO of the Houston Sports Authority.  He is the father of Andrew Luck, the number one draft pick in 2012.

The deal should close in the first half of 2023. Under the terms of its IPO, Sportsmap has until April 2023 to complete a deal, otherwise it has to return the money it raised to investors.

SEC filing – 8-K Sportsmap ICI

 

Houston SPAC to take biofuels refinery company public

Port Westward, Oregon

Industrial Tech Acquisitions II, a Houston SPAC, has agreed to take NEXT Renewables Fuels public in a transaction worth $530 million. NEXT, founded in 2016, is also based in Houston. Upon closing, the business will be renamed NXTClean Fuels.

NXT is in the process of developing a 50,000 barrel-per-day refinery in Port Westward, Oregon that will produce renewable diesel (‘RD’) and sustainable aviation fuel (‘SAF’).

Renewable Diesel

Renewable diesel is made from feedstock products such as vegetable oils, animal fats, used cooking oil and distillers corn oil. It uses the same source oils and fats as biodiesel. However, the refining process is different from biodiesel. The process is more capital-intensive, but RD is chemically equivalent to petroleum diesel and can be transported in petroleum pipelines.

Likewise, the refining process to make SAF is similar to regular jet fuel, except for the source feedstocks.

Construction of refinery

NXT expects the permitting of the Port Westward refinery to be granted by late 2023 with initial operations starting in mid-2026. The construction cost is currently $2.7 billion. (NXT’s own website shows a start date of 2024 and a construction cost of $2 billion, though this date and cost appear to be from June 2021).

The company aims to select an EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) Contractor by the end of the year. Fluor is the frontrunner, as they have performed the engineering work so far for the company.

Supply and Offtake Agreements

NXT has an agreement with BP, who will supply 100% of the feedstocks for at least 5 years. It also has offtake agreements with Shell and Chevron. United Airlines, through its venture arm, has invested an initial $2.5 million in NXT. This investment could rise to $37.5 million, assuming certain milestones are met.

Forecast revenues

In its first full year of operation in 2027, the company is projecting revenues of $3 billion and EBITDA of $1 billion.  Half of the revenue will be generated from the sale of credits that arise from the Renewable Fuel Standard, enacted by Congress in 2005.

In the transaction, NXT will have an enterprise value of $530 million. It will also have $156 million of cash on its balance sheet.

Management

The CEO of NXT is Christopher Efird, an entrepreneur and investor who has led, or co-led the investment into 29 growth stage businesses. Many of those later went public.

David Kane, based in Las Vegas, currently serves as the CFO of NXT, though his title is Senior VP and Controller.  He has been the CFO at a number of small and medium sized companies in California and Nevada.

2nd SPAC run by Scott Crist

Industrial Tech Acquisitions II went public in January 2022. It raised $173 million and is the 2nd SPAC run by Scott Crist. The first SPAC took Arbe Robotics public in October 2021. Arbe is an Israeli company developing 4D automotive imaging radar. Arbe’s shares are trading at $4.00, compared to $8 when it went public.

SEC filing – Investor Presentation

Houston SPAC buys California assets from Exxon

Flame Acquisition Corp, a Houston-based SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Corp) has agreed to buy the Santa Ynez oilfield from ExxonMobil. The business will be renamed Sable Offshore. (Technically, Exxon are selling the business to Sable Offshore, a company set up by Mr. Flores last year. In turn, Flame are buying Sable Offshore).



Flame completed its $250 million IPO in February 2021. The company is led by CEO and Chairman James Flores, the former CEO of Sable Permian Resources and prior to that, CEO of Plains Exploration and Production. The CFO is Gregory Patrinely, the former CFO of Sable Permian. He also worked in the Oil and Gas division of Freeport-McMoRan, where Mr. Flores also worked for a time.

The Santa Ynez oilfield consists of 3 offshore platforms located in federal waters 12 miles off the coast near Santa Barbara and an onshore processing facility at Las Flores Canyon.

The offshore field had to stop production in 2015 after a corroded onshore pipeline that runs parallel to US Highway 101 ruptured, releasing 2,934 barrels of oil into the ocean. Plains All American (a separate company to Plains Exploration and Production)  were the owners of the pipeline at the time. In 2020, Plains were fined $60 million in relation to the spill.

Last month, ExxonMobil bought the pipeline from Plains and has now agreed to sell it to Sable, who will be responsible for repairing and maintaining the pipeline.

The assets are being acquired for $643 million. However, most of this is being financed by Exxon who are issuing a $623 million loan to Sable. The loan has a 10% interest rate and will not be repaid until the earlier of 5 years or 180 days after production is restarted. I

Sable is targeting a production start date for the Santa Ynez field of January 2024 and is estimating it will cost $172 million to repair the pipeline and get the offshore platforms ready. That money will effectively come from the cash that Flame raised in its IPO. Sable is also looking to raise a further $300 million in equity to provide it with cash reserves in case of delays.

Sable believes that they can repair the pipeline quickly by following the processes outlined in the the consent degree that Plains agreed to in its March 2020 settlement. It’s not clear to me how or whether the Californian state authorities can object or delay the repairs.

If production does not restart by January 2026, ExxonMobil has the right to take back the assets.

[EDITED 11-10-22 to make clear that Plains Exploration and Production, the former employer of Mr. Flores, is a separate company from Plains All-American).

Flame – Investor Presentation

 

Houston Space Infrastructure company to go public

Intuitive Machines (‘IM’), a Houston space infrastructure company, has agreed to be taken public by Inflection Point Acquisition Corp, a Manhattan-based SPAC.

The company is located near NASA and has recently been awarded a number of contracts with NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to return astronauts to the Moon by 2024.



IM is involved in 4 main segments

  • Lunar landing vehicles
  • Lunar data services
  • Orbital services (e.g. satellite servicing, debris removal)
  • Space infrastructure (power plants, human habitation systems)

IM was founded in 2013 by CEO Stephen Altemus, Kam Ghaffarian and Tim Crain.

  • Mr. Altemus is the former Deputy Director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
  • Mr. Ghaffarian is the Chairman of IM and has co-founded a number of space companies, including NASA contractor Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies, which was sold to KBR for $355 million in 2018.
  • Dr. Crain is IM’s Chief Technology Officer and worked at NASA for 12 years.
  • CFO Erik Sallee joined in April 2021 and was formerly the Corporate Controller at Blue Origin.

The company expects to have $102 million of revenue this year and has $153 million in backlog for 2023. The big jump is in 2024 when revenues are projected to be $759 million and the business will make a small EBITDA profit.

The transaction values the business at $815 million enterprise value (2.8 x 2023 revenue) and will leave the business with $338 million cash on hand to fund growth.

The deal is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2023.

Just last week, Nauticus Robotics, another Houston company with strong NASA connections, was taken public by a SPAC.

Intuitive Machines – Investor Presentation

 

 

 

Foxo Technologies goes public via Houston SPAC

Delwinds Insurance, a Houston SPAC, has completed its business combination with Foxo Technologies. As a result, the company has been renamed and is now based in Minneapolis.

Foxo is developing proprietary saliva-based epigenetic biomarkers with a plan to create simper, smoother, non-invasive underwriting of life insurance. Currently, underwriting involves lengthy timelines and invasive blood and urine specimen requirements.



Epigenetic biomarkers are chemical modifications, called DNA methylation that alter gene expression from external stimuli such as lifestyle and environment. The company plans to use automated machine learning to identify patterns of epigenetic biomarkers that correlate to health and wellness (e.g tobacco use, hypertension, alcohol abuse etc).

Foxo started in 2019.  The company is projecting its first revenues in 2023 with positive EBITDA during the following year. The transaction values Foxo at $300 million and leaves it with $194 million in cash to fund its growth.

Delwinds went public in December 2020 in a $200 million Initial Public Offering.  It planned to target businesses in insurance technology so the deal for Foxo (announced in February 2022) definitely met that criteria. Delwinds had 18 months from its IPO to complete a deal, otherwise it would be wound up and the cash returned to investors. In May, it received a 3-month extension to Sept 15.

SEC filing – Foxo completes Delwinds deal

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

 

 

 

Energy transition SPAC completes $175 million IPO

Pyrophyte Acquisition Corp has completed its $175 million initial public offering (IPO). The blank check company has its head office in the River Oaks area of Houston.

The company is seeking targets involved in energy transitions. That could mean renewable power generation, energy storage, zero-emission transportation, carbon capture or zero/low-carbon industrial applications.



The chairman of the company is Dr. Bernard Duroc-Danner. In 1987 he was hired to start up the oilfield services business of EVI. 47 acquisitions later, he retired as Chairman and CEO of Weatherford in 2016. In 2018, he co-founded a start-up of an artificial intelligence software company with applications in wind renewable energy.

Sten Gustafson is the CEO. From 2012 to 2014 he was the CEO of ERA Group, the Houston-based helicopter company that was spun out of Seacor in 2013. Since 2018, he was served as the Chairman of Golden Energy Offshore, a Norwegian operator of offshore service vessels.

The CFO is Thomas Major who spent ten years at NOV, including five as Director of Corporate Development.

The company is the fourth Houston-based SPAC or blank check company to go public since the beginning of last week. You can read about the others here and here.

https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2021/10/26/2321254/0/en/Pyrophyte-Acquisition-Corp-Announces-Pricing-of-175-Million-Initial-Public-Offering.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

 

 

 

 

Houston E&P SPAC goes public in $150 million IPO

CENAQ Energy Corp, a SPAC (otherwise known as a blank check company) based in the Galleria area, has completed its $150 million Initial Public Offering. It intends to buy E&P assets in North America.



Chairman John Connally is a veteran of many E&P companies such as Nuevo Energy (acquired by Plains Exploration for $945 million in 2004). Interestingly, he is also the Chairman of  Texas South Energy. This is an E&P company that trades over-the-counter and is based in the same office suite as CENAQ. In July, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revoked the registration of Texas South as the company hadn’t filed any quarterly or annual reports since March 31, 2019.

As an aside, one of the reasons for the delay was because LBB Associates was the auditor to Texas South. They had to resign in early 2020 as the majority partner, Carlos Lopez, was barred by the SEC for professional misconduct in a case unrelated to Texas South.

The CEO of CENAQ is Russell Porter. He spent 18 years at Gastar Energy. He resigned as CEO in February 2018 and received a severance payment of $3.5 million. In November 2018, Gastar filed for bankruptcy with $342 million of assets and $454 million of debt. It exited Chapter 11 three months later, having converted $350 million of debt into equity. The company was later sold to Chisholm Oil and Gas, based in Tulsa.

Mike Mayell is the CFO of CENAQ. He also serves as the CEO of Texas South. Mr. Mayell co-founded Meridian Resource and was its COO until 2008. Meridian was sold to Alta Mesa in 2009 for $27 million.

Houston area SPACS

CENAQ becomes the 13th blank check company based in the Houston area. You can see the complete list of Houston-area public companies here.

I’ve taken a couple of the blank check companies off the list recently as they have taken businesses public.

NewHold Investment has now taken Evolv Technologies public in a $1.3 billion transaction. Evolv is a security screening company based in Boston.

Landcadia Holdings III has now taken The Hillman Group public in a $2.6 billion transaction. Hillman, based in Cincinnati, distributes fasteners and work gear to Lowe’s, Home Depot and Walmart.

SEC filing – CENAQ IPO