Electric aircraft maker Archer to go public in $3.8 billion Moelis-backed blank check deal

An undated handout image of an Archer electric aircraft

Electric aircraft startup Archer, which is getting solid backing from United Airlines, will go public through a merger with a blank-check company backed by investment banker Ken Moelis in a deal valued at around $3.8 billion.

The deal with Atlas Crest Investment Corp, announced on Wednesday, is expected to provide $1.1 billion of proceeds to the company which makes electric aircraft with vertical take-off and landing.

Archer and Atlas Crest said the proceeds include a $600 million private investment from United Airlines Holdings Inc, Ken Moelis and Mubadala Capital, the investment arm of Abu Dhabi’s state investor Mubadala Investment Co.

Separately, United Airlines said it would buy $1 billion of Archer’s aircraft, with an option to buy an additional $500 million of aircraft, as part of its decarbonization efforts.

Palo Alto-based Archer was launched in May last year and is backed by Marc Lore, former chief executive officer of Walmart eCommerce U.S. The company said it is developing an electric aircraft that can travel up to 60 miles at 150 miles per hour.

In December, United Airlines announced a multi-million dollar investment in a project to remove carbon dioxide from the air as part of a plan to be 100% “green” by 2050.

A blank-check company, or a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), is a shell company that uses capital raised through an initial public offering to buy a private firm, thereby taking it public. They have gained popularity as an alternative to public markets for companies seeking to avoid a traditional IPO.

Moelis-led Atlas Crest raised $500 million in its IPO in October. The veteran banker founded investment firm Moelis & Co in 2007, since when it has advised on more than $3.5 trillion worth of transactions. Moelis also served as the president of UBS Investment Bank.

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