Startup Rocket Lab to Go Public in SPAC Deal With Vector

Space Startup Rocket Lab to Go Public in Latest SPAC Deal

Space-launch company Rocket Lab USA Inc. agreed to merge with Vector Acquisition Corp., becoming the latest startup to go public through a so-called blank-check company.

The combination values Rocket Lab at $4.1 billion including debt, according to a statement Monday. The combined company will have about $750 million in cash.

Startup Rocket Lab to Go Public in SPAC Deal With Vector

The funding will help Rocket Lab develop a launch vehicle that can deploy satellite mega-constellations, go to deep space and serve human space missions. The company has specialized in delivering small satellites to low-Earth orbit and in November recovered a rocket used to launch satellites, replicating an approach used by Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp.

The Vector deal follows a string of transactions involving special-purpose acquisition companies that raise money through initial public offerings and then hunt for businesses to acquire. More than 200 blank-check companies raised over $80 billion last year, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Startup Rocket Lab to Go Public in SPAC Deal With Vector

Vector Acquisition, backed by private-equity firm Vector Capital, raised $300 million in a September IPO.

Rocket Lab has launched 97 satellites and serves commercial customers as well as U.S. intelligence and defense agencies. It plans to launch a satellite to lunar orbit this year for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration as part of the Gateway effort to return humans to the moon.

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The deal with Vector is expected to close in the second quarter, with the new Rocket Lab USA Inc. trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the ticker symbol RKLB. Rocket Lab projects reporting positive adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in 2023, positive cash flow the next year and $1 billion in revenue in 2026.

Vector Acquisition jumped 14% to $11.67 before the start of regular trading in New York.

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