Benson Hill Inc. goes public by merging with a special-purpose acquisition firm in a deal that values the plant-growing know-how agency at $2 billion, the businesses mentioned.
The operator of a platform that makes use of machine studying, simulations and genetics to optimize plant progress, Benson Hill is combining with the SPAC
Star Peak Corp. II.
Benson Hill says it will probably develop breeds of crops like soybeans and yellow peas that mature quicker, have increased protein content material or style higher, saving growers time and sources.
Such components are key for plant-based meat options, and the corporate can also be growing merchandise for animal feed. Cheaper, more-sustainable plant-growing strategies are wanted to feed the world’s rising inhabitants and speed up the battle in opposition to local weather change, analysts say.
The St. Louis-based firm expects to start business manufacturing of its ultrahigh-protein soybean by subsequent yr and is growing a yellow-pea protein focus. It additionally has a unit that sells recent produce to grocery shops and meals distributors. The roughly $625 million in anticipated money proceeds from the deal will speed up Benson Hill’s bid to carry down plant-based meals prices, Chief Government
mentioned in an interview.
“It’s positioning us to essentially gear shift into one other stage of progress,” he mentioned.
Based in 2012, Benson Hill expects final yr’s gross sales of about $100 million to surge because it offers extra merchandise to meals corporations, eating places and grocery shops.
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Present traders within the firm embody GV—the venture-capital arm of
—and agricultural buying and selling giants
and Louis Dreyfus Co. Traders together with funds managed by
Van Eck Associates Corp., Hedosophia and Lazard Asset Administration are placing cash into the deal by a $225 million personal funding in public fairness, or PIPE, related to the merger. These funds and cash held by the SPAC are anticipated to yield the roughly $625 million in money proceeds.
Benson Hill joins the group of early-stage corporations tied to sustainability, corresponding to vertical-farming firm AeroFarms, which are elevating cash and going public by SPACs.
“Should you’re severe about decarbonizing the economic system, you need to decarbonize [agriculture],” mentioned
chairman of the Star Peak Corp. II SPAC and chief govt of asset supervisor Triangle Peak Companions LP.
Star Peak II is the second blank-check agency backed by Mr. Morgan—a former govt at power infrastructure agency
Kinder Morgan Inc.
—and traders on the hedge fund Magnetar Capital. The staff’s first Star Peak SPAC just lately took clean-energy storage agency
Magnetar is among the many greatest SPAC traders and had practically $2.9 billion in blank-check firm holdings on the finish of 2020, in keeping with a compilation of regulatory filings by knowledge supplier SPAC Analysis.
SPACs like Star Peak II are shell corporations that checklist on an change to accumulate a personal agency and take it public. They’re additionally referred to as blank-check corporations. Merging with a SPAC has turn out to be a typical manner for startups to lift massive sums and entry traders who’re enthusiastic about themes like sustainability. One motive is that SPAC mergers let startups make rosy projections about their enterprise, which aren’t allowed in a traditional preliminary public providing.
SPAC executives argue that they’re accelerating progress for technology-driven companies that would finally change the world. Skeptics contend that some low-revenue companies going public through blank-check corporations aren’t prepared to take action and will hit particular person traders with losses if their know-how fails. Considerations about tighter regulation and lofty valuations have in current weeks dragged down shares of SPACs and firms they’ve taken public.
Thus far this yr, SPACs have raised greater than $100 billion, in keeping with SPAC Analysis, surging previous 2020’s report complete of greater than $80 billion.
After the deal closes later this yr, Benson Hill is predicted to commerce underneath the ticker image “BHIL.”
—Jacob Bunge contributed to this text.
Write to Amrith Ramkumar at [email protected]
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Appeared within the Might 10, 2021, print version as ‘Plant Tech Enterprise Units SPAC Providing.’