Special purpose acquisition company. Commit that phrase to memory, because it is the new financial vehicle that companies are using to go public while circumventing many of the strictures the SEC places on “normal” IPOs. In theory, investors fork over a pile of dough to an investment company that specializes in purchasing other companies. In theory, those investors have no idea what their money will be used for.
These outfits have come to be known as “blank check companies.” Instead of investors saying “I want to purchase shares in XYZ Corp,” they simply park their money with an asset purchase company and trust its management will make wise decisions. So far this year, Nikola, Lordstown, and Fisker have all gone public in this fashion. Now Canoo, the innovative EV company that rose from the ashes of Faraday Future, says it will do the same. Its shares will trade under the stock symbol CNOO.
In this case, the purchaser is Hennessy Capital Acquisition Corporation founded by David Hennessy. According to TechCrunch, the transaction will unlock about $600 million from investors like BlackRock and others, which will be used to get Canoo’s innovative skateboard chassis into production. That skateboard isn’t the only innovation from Canoo, however. The company says its vehicles won’t be sold. Instead, customers will sign up for a subscription. Use it for as long as you need it; cancel at any time. That idea should leave many executives at traditional car companies shaking their heads.
Canoo is getting a lot of interest these days. Hyundai has forged a partnership with the company and says some of its future electric cars will be built on the Canoo skateboard. In theory, any kind of body can fit on a Canoo skateboard, from a funeral hearse to a replica of a Mercedes 300 SL. Canoo calls them “top hats.” But the company is leaning heavily on a transportation as a service model for ride hailing and ride sharing passengers as well as last mile delivery vehicles in crowded cities.
One electric car company that is not planning an IPO is Bollinger Motors, founded by Robert Bollinger, which makes rugged electric pickups and SUVs, both of which look strong enough to pull a small freight train. It says it is transferring its headquarters to Oak Park, Michigan to accommodate a doubling in size of its staff from 40 engineers to 80.
In an e-mail to CleanTechnica, Robert Bollinger says the move, “couldn’t have come at a better time. We were bursting at the seams with new engineers. It was especially difficult to keep everyone 6 feet apart.”
Every new IPO is an opportunity for those who missed the boat on Tesla’s phenomenal stock run-up to profit from the EV revolution. Last year, NIO shares were selling for around $2.00. Today they are trading at around $14.00 each. But that doesn’t mean every new company that goes public is going to see a similar gain in its share price. There is money to be made in EV company stocks, but not all of them will have Tesla-like explosions in value. Invest wisely.