Rocket Lab nears merger deal with a SPAC to go public – WSJ

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Rocket Lab USA is nearing a deal to go public through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company that would value the firm at $US4.1 billion ($NZ5.6bn), including debt, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The launch site for the Electron rocket at Rocket Lab in Mahia, New Zealand in June 16, 2018.

The launch site for the Electron rocket at Rocket Lab in Mahia, New Zealand in June 16, 2018. Photo: Kieran Fanning / Rocket Lab / AFP

The deal could be finalised by Monday (local time), the newspaper reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The merger is with Vector Acquisition – a company backed by technology-focused private-equity company Vector Capital and raised $US300 million in an initial public offering in September.

Vector Acquisition and Rocket Lab did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

Rocket Lab’s backers have included defense giant Lockheed Martin Corp.

The New Zealand-US startup has already launched 97 satellites from its launch site on Mahia peninsula in Hawke’s Bay for government and private companies for applications that include research and communications, the WSJ said.

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Rocket Lab’s deal with Vector is expected to include additional funds of about $US470m in the form of a so-called private investment in public equity from investors including BlackRock Inc and Neuberger Berman Group LLC, the newspaper said.

Rocket Lab is expected to use proceeds from the deal to fund development of a medium-lift Neutron launch vehicle tailored for satellite mega-constellations, space missions and commercial spaceflight, the report added.

The Neutron rocket is expected to be able to lift most satellites forecast to launch in the coming years and be positioned as a lower-cost alternative to larger vehicles, according to the report.

– Reuters

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