Nikola Motor Company Two truck
Source: Nikola Motor Company
Electric heavy truck maker Nikola said Monday that it struck a $144 million deal to acquire battery pack supplier Romeo Power, giving the company control over a key part of its supply chain.
The all-stock transaction values Romeo at 74 cents per share, a 34% premium to Romeo’s closing price Friday. Romeo’s shares were up about 23% to 68 cents in premarket trading after the news was released.
As part of the deal, Nikola will provide Romeo with $35 million in interim funding to continue its operations until the transaction closes, the companies said. Nikola said it believes the acquisition could save it up to $350 million over the next four years.
California-based Romeo specializes in building battery modules and packs for large electric commercial vehicles, using lithium-ion battery cells manufactured by other companies. Nikola, which began shipping its electric semi-trucks earlier this year and expects to ship between 300 and 500 trucks in 2022, has been Romeo’s largest customer.
Nikola CEO Mark Russell said the deal will let the company accelerate the development of its electrification platform.
“Given our strong relationship with Romeo and ongoing collaboration, we are confident in our ability to successfully integrate and deliver the many expected strategic and financial benefits of this acquisition,” he said.
The deal is a lifeline for Romeo, which like Nikola is one of many companies in the EV space to have gone public via mergers with special purpose acquisition companies. Romeo went public via a SPAC merger in late 2020, in a deal that valued the combined company at $900 million.
But Romeo had just $66.8 million in cash and equivalents remaining as of the end of the first quarter, after racking up more than $250 million in losses. With its shares trading below $1 in recent weeks, and with interest rates rising, Romeo may have been running out of options to stay afloat.
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