TikTok rival Triller exploring IPO through SPAC merger: Report

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  • Video app Triller is exploring the possibility of an IPO, sources told Reuters.
  • The company is reportedly in talks to set up a public listing via a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).
  • It is simultaneously pursuing a private funding round, and sources told Reuters it had raised $100 million at a valuation of $1.25 billion so far.
  • The sources said no deal is yet firm, and that Triller is still deciding which path to take.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Short-form video app Triller, which bills itself as a rival to the wildly successful TikTok, is reportedly exploring an IPO.

Reuters reported Sunday that Triller was in talks with investment bank Farvahar Partners about a potential merger and IPO.

Sources told Reuters the merger, if successful, would be with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). 

SPACs are essentially shell companies that go public to raise capital in order to acquire a company, allowing their target to easily obtain a public listing.

Triller was simultaneously in talks to raise a private fundraising round, sources told Reuters, adding that it had raised $100 million at a valuation of $1.25 billion so far.

Reuters’ sources said Triller was deciding whether to carry on with the private raise or forge a deal with the SPAC. They added that no deal was certain yet.

Triller was not immediately available to comment on the report when contacted by Business Insider.

Triller has positioned itself as an emerging competitor to TikTok, which it is suing for alleged patent infringement.

Last month it said it had 100 million monthly active users, and CEO Mike Lu told TechCrunch Disrupt on September 15 that the company’s growth was “definitely on a rocket ship.” 

TikTok remains much larger than Triller, with 689 million monthly active users

Faraday Future plans to go public through a SPAC deal

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Faraday Future, the electric vehicle startup with a messy and complicated past, is planning to go public through a special-purchase acquisition company (SPAC) deal.

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The company’s chief executive Carsten Breitfeld told Reuters that the company is working on a reverse merger with a SPAC and “will be able to announce something hopefully quite soon.”

Breitfeld, formerly the co-founder of Chinese EV startup Byton, declined to give more information about who Faraday is talking to or when the deal will closed. A Faraday Future spokesperson contacted by TechCrunch also said the company had no further details to share at this time.

SPACs are blank-check companies that are formed to raise money through an initial public offering in order to merge or acquire other companies. As TechCrunch’s Connie Loizos wrote in an explainer, they’ve become more popular among tech companies recently because many had their initial public offering plans delayed by the pandemic. SPACs also present an alternative to the regulatory issues surrounding traditional IPOs.

Shortly after being appointed CEO in September 2019, Breitfeld told Automotive News that Faraday Future wanted to raise about $850 million by the first quarter of 2020. By that time, company had already received $225 million in bridge financing led by Birch Lake Associates. The funding’s purpose is to finally bring Faraday’s flagship vehicle, the FF91 luxury electric SUV, to market.

Though the SPAC deal’s timeline is still undisclosed, Breitfeld told Reuters that Faraday Future plans to start volume production of the FF91, its first electric luxury SUV, 12 months after securing funding. This would represent a major milestone for the company, which was founded in 2015 but hasn’t produced a production vehicle yet. Faraday Future has made several prototypes, including one that went up for auction in August.

If the deal is successful, Breitfeld

EV startup Faraday Future in talks to go public through SPAC merger

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By Ben Klayman

DETROIT (Reuters) – Electric vehicle startup Faraday Future aims to close a deal soon to go public through a reverse merger with a special-purchase acquisition company (SPAC), its chief executive said on Monday.

“We are working on such a deal … and will be able to announce something hopefully quite soon,” Carsten Breitfeld said of the possibility of a SPAC deal.

Breitfeld declined to say who Faraday is negotiating with or when a deal would close.

A SPAC is a shell company that raises money through an initial public offering to buy an operating entity, typically within two years.

SPACs have emerged as a quick route to the stock market for companies, particularly auto technology startups, and have proven popular with investors seeking to echo Tesla Inc’s <TSLA.O> high stock valuation.

Breitfeld, who joined the Los Angeles-based company as CEO last year, also said the company would deliver its first electric luxury SUV, the FF 91, nine months after securing funding, with volume production beginning 12 months after such a deal.

Faraday has said it wants to raise $800 million to $850 million to launch the FF 91.

It will initially build the vehicle at its plant in Hanford, California, but ultimately will use a contract manufacturer in Asia with which Breitfeld said Faraday has signed an agreement. He declined to identify the company.

Once one of the more hyped EV startups, Faraday burned through $2 billion in cash and its founder Jia Yueting finalized his personal bankruptcy filing in June.

Breitfeld said Jia no longer owns stock in Faraday, which is more than half owned by employees through an executive partnership and an employee stock ownership plan. Jia’s stake had been a “major blocking point” to bringing in other investors, he said.

Breitfeld acknowledged Faraday has

Controversial former Uber exec Emil Michael has registered plans for a $250 million SPAC

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SPACs, or special purpose acquisition companies, are all the rage right now, and people are emerging from all corners to raise them.

Among the latest entrants — and someone who might be of interest to Silicon Valley watchers — is Emil Michael, a former Uber executive and top lieutenant to former CEO Travis Kalanick. Earlier today, Micheal registered plans with the SEC to raise $250 million in an IPO for a blank-check company that will broadly acquire a company in the tech sector.

IPO Edge had reported earlier today that the SPAC might be in the works.

The filing lists as special advisors Alphabet’s former executive chairman Eric Schmidt, and Betsy Atkins, a founder of Ascend Communications and investor who has served on so many boards that last year she wrote a book about it. Indeed, among her other roles currently, she’s on the boards of Volvo, Wynn Resorts, and Oyo Hotels.

Michael was as senior vice president of field operations at Tellme Networks, then later served as COO of the startup Klout before landing at Uber, where he was a senior vice president for business for nearly four years.

He gained prominence in the role, but also some disrepute after he publicly made comments about hiring opposition researchers to quiet journalists critical of the company and following a later report that he had attended an “escort bar” in Seoul with other Uber executives, including Kalanick. Indeed, when he left the company in 2017, Uber declined to say if he left of his own accord.

Despite — or perhaps even because of — his trajectory at Uber, Michael was reportedly vetted at one point for the position of Secretary of Transportation after Donald Trump was elected president. Now, he apparently sees a way to jump back into tech by using