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BMW and Ford-backed Solid Power will go public via SPAC merger in $1.2B deal

Solid Power, a solid-state battery developer backed by Ford and BMW, is going public. The company said Tuesday it would head to the NASDAQ via a merger with special purpose acquisition company Decarbonization Plus Acquisition Corp III at a post-deal implied market valuation of $1.2 billion.

The transaction is expected to generate around $600 million in cash, including a $165 million private investment in public equity (PIPE) transaction from investors Koch Strategic Platforms, Riverstone Energy Limited, Neuberger Berman and Van Eck Associates Corporation. Solid Power said in a statement Tuesday that the funds will go toward growth and operations.

Solid state batteries are considered by many as the next long-awaited breakthrough in battery technology. They are so named because they lack a liquid electrolyte, the mechanism that moves ions between the cathode and anode in traditional lithium-ion batteries, as Mark Harris explained in an Extra Crunch article earlier this year. By getting rid of this liquid component, developers say SSBs are safer and with far superior energy density. Solid Power said in a June 15 investor presentation that its batteries are expected to deliver a nearly 500-mile range on a single charge and more than double a conventional battery’s 8-year lifespan.

Ford Motor Company and BMW AG have made it clear they’re bullish on Solid Power’s ability to deliver. The two OEMs led the battery developer’s $130 million Series B in May and signed joint development agreements for automotive-scale batteries from Solid Power’s pilot production line to be delivered in early 2022.

The SPAC transaction will likely be completed in the fourth quarter of 2021, Solid Power said. It’s expected to trade on the NYSE under the ticker symbol “SLDP.”

Solid Power is just the latest battery company to go public via a SPAC in recent months. One of its main rivals, Volkswagen-backed QuantumScape, went public via a SPAC merger last September at a valuation of $3.3 billion. Earlier this year, European battery manufacturer FREYR and power system developer Microvast also announced mergers with so-called “blank-check” firms.

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