Silicon Battery Maker Amprius to Go Public in $1.3 Billion SPAC Merger

Amprius Technologies Inc. has reached an agreement with a special-purpose acquisition company that values ​​the silicon-anode battery maker at around $1.3 billion and will go public, company officials said.

Based in Fremont, Calif., Amprius makes batteries that are more powerful than conventional lithium-ion cells because they use energy-dense silicon in the battery’s anode instead of graphite, the traditional material. The company is now selling them to customers like Airbus EADSY -0.86%

SE and the US Army power electric planes and drones, and say they could also be used in electric cars.

Amprius is combining with SPAC Kensington Capital Acquisition Corp. IV focuses on transportation in a deal expected to be announced on Thursday.

Money is a sticking point in climate change negotiations around the world. As economists warn that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius will cost trillions more than anticipated, the WSJ looks at the sums that could be spent as how and who will pay. Illustration: Preston Jessee / WSJ

Several other companies, including silicon-anode battery company Enovix Corp.

is working to mass produce batteries that can store more energy and power electric vehicles even more between charges, advances that analysts say could make them popular. become more variable and reduce the world’s dependence on fossil fuels.

Amprius says it’s unique because it’s been commercially available since 2018, has a patented design to make the anode all-silicon, and makes the battery powerful enough to power airplanes. , which has not received much attention from battery manufacturers.

“We believe this will be a mainstream technology,” Kang Sun, CEO of Amprius, said in an interview. He said the company hopes to use the money from the deal to expand production capacity and meet demand.

Founded in 2008, Amprius joined many other clean energy startups to secure a SPAC deal to list on the stock exchange.

Also known as a check company, SPAC is a shell company that raises money and trades on a stock exchange for the purpose of combining with a private company to take it public. Once an agreement is reached and approved by the regulators, the company will list SPAC replacement shares on the stock exchange. Such mergers have become popular alternatives to traditional initial public offerings over the past few years, allowing companies to raise cash while reaching investors. personal investment.

Many newly-listed startups have been hit by technological headwinds recently and have been hit by global supply chain disruptions, sending stock prices down and slowing the pace of new operations for the year. now.

Several companies that have announced SPAC transactions in the past have terminated their combinations. The traditional IPO market has also cooled, hurt by a broader stock market sell-off fueled by worries about high inflation and rising interest rates. Fast-growing, unprofitable startups were among the hardest hit.

Private companies are flooding into special purpose acquisitions, or SPACs, to bypass the traditional IPO process and go public. The WSJ explains why some critics say investing in these so-called short-testing companies isn’t worth the risk. Illustration: Zoë Soriano / WSJ

Justin Mirro, CEO of SPAC, said he believes in the merger because of its unique structure and the SPAC team’s previous experience with solid-state battery startup QuantumScape. Corp.

and electric vehicle charging company Wallbox NV.

As part of the deal, Amprius plans to raise $200 million in equity from investors. That money and the $230 million Kensington SPAC raised in March can be used to expand the business, although SPAC investors can withdraw their funds before the deal is closed. presently. Low stock prices often lead to such withdrawals.

To minimize withdrawals and motivate investors to keep their funds in the trade, Kensington SPAC offers investors an additional warrant that allows them to purchase more shares at a specified price in the future. future.

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