Nikola, an Arizona startup developing semi-trucks powered by hydrogen fuel cells and batteries, is listing shares on Nasdaq in a merger with publicly traded acquisition firm VectoIQ that the companies say is worth $3.3 billion.
Upon the closing of the transaction, the combined company will be named Nikola Corporation and is expected to remain NASDAQ-listed under the new ticker symbol “NKLA.”
Nikola is developing zero emissions heavy duty trucks and hydrogen infrastructure. More than $10 billion in pre-order leases to date and the joint venture with European industrial vehicle manufacturer IVECO make Nikola a formidable competitor to other OEMs (original equipment manufacturers). Nikola’s business model supplies both the truck and hydrogen fueling infrastructure. The transaction proceeds will accelerate production, allow Nikola to break ground on its manufacturing facility in Coolidge, Arizona, and begin its hydrogen station infrastructure roll out. The company expects to generate revenue by 2021 with the roll out of its BEV truck, followed by FCEV truck sales starting in 2023 and the initial build out of hydrogen fueling stations to serve Nikola customers’ fleets, such as Anheuser-Busch.
Trevor Milton, Founder and CEO of Nikola, will serve as Executive Chairman of the combined company. Prior to launching Nikola in 2015, Mr. Milton served as CEO of dHybrid Systems, a natural gas storage technology company.
Mark Russell, who has more than 20 years of experience building and managing companies in the manufacturing industry, will serve as the CEO of Nikola.
The transaction reflects an implied enterprise value at closing of $3.3 billion. Cash proceeds raised in connection with the transaction, which will primarily be used to fund operations, support growth and for other general corporate purposes, will be funded through a combination of VectoIQ’s cash in trust and a $525 million private placement of common stock at $10.00 per share led by institutional investors including Fidelity Management & Research Company, ValueAct Spring Fund and P. Schoenfeld Asset Management LP. Current Nikola stockholders will remain majority owners of the combined company at closing.
The boards of directors of both VectoIQ and Nikola have unanimously approved the proposed transaction. Completion of the proposed transaction is subject to approval of VectoIQ and Nikola stockholders and other customary closing conditions, including a registration statement being declared effective by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2020.