: Microsoft and American Airlines-backed flying taxi startup to go public in new $5 billion blank-check wave

A developer of electric, flying taxis is set to go public in New York by merging with a blank-check, special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, as part of the latest wave of listings bringing more than $5 billion in enterprise value to the stock market.

Vertical Aerospace announced on Thursday that it would merge with Broadstone Acquisition Corp
bringing around $394 million in gross proceeds to the company as part of a move to become publicly listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares in Broadstone were trading 0.5% higher on Friday, after rising around 3.5% in the premarket.

Based in Bristol, England, Vertical Aerospace was founded in 2016 by energy entrepreneur Stephen Fitzpatrick. The group develops electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft — fixed-wing planes that perform like helicopters — for urban mobility solutions such as passenger taxis, medical evacuations, and carrying cargo.

Its flagship low-noise, zero-emissions VA-X4 prototype will be able to carry five people more than 100 miles at a top speed of 202 miles an hour. Vertical Aerospace said it should be profitable and cash flow stable with annual sales of less than 100 aircraft.


venture capital arm, American Airlines
and Rolls-Royce

were among those investing in the company through the private investment in public equity offering, or PIPE, the group said. The company said it had up to 1,000 aircraft preorders valued at up to $4 billion from American Airlines and aircraft leasing company Avolon, as well as a preorder option from Virgin Atlantic.

The deal with Broadstone is expected to close in the second half of the year. It values the group and its parent SPAC at an enterprise value of $1.84 billion and equity value of $2.2 billion, based on the $10 per share price in the PIPE.

Vertical Aerospace is one of two European technology companies that this week announced plans to go public in New York via blank-check merger, in a new wave of investments amid the cooling down of the red-hot SPAC market of 2020-21.

German sports e-commerce platform Signa Sports United announced on Friday it would go public on the NYSE by merging with Yucaipa Acquisition Corp
The group said the approximately $300 million PIPE investment was anchored by billionaire Ron Burkle, who leads Yucaipa and owns the Soho House chain of private members’ clubs, as well as institutional investors and sovereign-wealth funds.

The move is a bid from Signa to dominate in the sports e-commerce space, with expected net revenues of around $1.6 billion in the year to September 2021. Signa’s deal with Yucaipa also includes the acquisition of Wiggle, a popular U.K. online bicycle brand. Wiggle is currently owned by private equity group Bridgepoint, which bought the brand a decade ago and is slated to receive shares in the new public company.

Signa Sports United’s transaction with Yucaipa is expected to close in the second half of 2021, and gives the new combined company an enterprise valuation of around $3.2 billion. So, between Vertical Aerospace and Signa, more than $5 billion in enterprise value is headed to the New York Stock Exchange this year from high-growth European companies.

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