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Symbotic is going public via a merger with SVF Investment Corp. 3, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) sponsored by an affiliate of SoftBank Investment Advisers. Upon closing of the deal, which is expected to happen in the first half of 2022, Symbotic will trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “SYM.”
The transaction is expected to deliver up to $725 million of primary gross proceeds for Symbotic. This consists of $320 million of cash in trust from SVFC, a $205 million common equity PIPE, and a $200 million forward purchase of common equity by an affiliate of SoftBank Vision Fund 2. Symbotic said it also expects to receive an additional $174 million in cash from Walmart by the end of December 2021 to be used for general corporate purposes as a result of Walmart gross exercising warrants it holds in the Company. Walmart will own 9% of Symbotic.
The deal values Wilmington, Mass.-based Symbotic at a pro forma enterprise value of $4.8 billion, representing 4.8x Symbotic’s forecast 2023 calendar year end estimated revenues. Symbotic said it expects to generate $433 million in revenue in 2022, which would be more than a 73% increase year over year.
Founded in 2005, Symbotic’s robotics systems is used by some of the world’s biggest retailers and wholesalers, including Walmart, Albertsons and C&S Wholesale Grocers. Its fleet of robots can receive, store and retrieve products in distribution centers. At the core of the system is a fleet of several hundred autonomous mobile robots called “Symbots.”
The robots move products at speeds up to 25 MPH with 99.9999% accuracy, Symbotic claims, to and from random access storage structures. As products exit the system, robots use proprietary end-of-arm tools and vision to output cases, totes and packages. Symbotic said its system enhances storage density, increases available SKUs, reduces product damage and improves throughput and speed to customers.
Symbotic said it has an order backlog of more than $5 billion. Its systems currently service 1,400-plus stores in 16 states and 8 Canadian provinces, the company said.
“When we founded Symbotic, we set out to develop technology to make the supply chain work better for everyone. We have successfully invented and developed a truly disruptive solution that reimagines the traditional warehouse from the ground up. Not only that, but we have also proven its power in partnership with some of the world’s biggest retailers,” said Symbotic chairman and CEO Rick Cohen. “Now is the time to take Symbotic to the next level. SoftBank has tremendous experience investing in leading-edge artificial intelligence and robotics innovators, and our partnership with them will provide us with new insights, relationships and capital that will help us realize our full potential. Together, I’m confident Symbotic will be a powerful, long-term force in modernizing the supply chain to the benefit of all.”
Symbotic equity holders are expected to own 88% of the combined business when the deal closes. New investors will own 12%, with SPAC public shareholders owning 6%, the SVFC sponsor and its affiliates owning 5% and other PIPE investors owning 1%.
“We are highly impressed by how Rick and the team have built Symbotic into the remarkable, growing business and industry leader it is today,” said Yanni Pipilis, chairman and CEO of SVF Investment Corp. 3 and managing partner for SBIA. “We believe Symbotic has built an exceptional platform on which to scale, building on the company’s strong revenue, balance sheet and profitability to thrive as Rick and the team continue to reimagine global supply chains.”
A slew of robotics companies went public or announced plans to go public via SPAC in 2021. The list includes Aurora Innovation, Berkshire Grey, Bright Machines, Memic, Sarcos Robotics, and Vicarious Surgical. Autonomous trucking company Plus had its SPAC merger called off due to regulatory challenges in China.