World View Poised to Launch Publicly Through $350M SPAC Deal

World View, a startup developing stratospheric balloons for Earth observation and tourism, is going public through a $350 million merger with SPAC Leo Holdings Corp. II. The announcement Friday marks the beginning of World View’s mission to create “the stratospheric economy.”

The proposed deal, slated for completion in Q2 2021, is expected to generate up to $121 million in gross proceeds for the combined company. Additionally, an option exists for additional equity financing of up to $75 million. Note that this total could be reduced significantly if shareholder redemptions exceed expectations (as seen with Virgin Orbit earlier this week).

Tucson, Arizona-based World View is introducing Stratollites – remote sensing balloons that fly up to 29 kilometers (95,000 feet), offering unique advantages over traditional satellites. With potential applications in defense and agriculture markets among others, these innovative systems could revolutionize the way we view our world.

World View plans to launch a stratospheric balloon tourism business in 2021. Over 1,200 people have already reserved their spot with a $500 deposit toward the $50,000 ticket price for each 6-8 hour journey.

World View has raised $48.9 million in funding, as reported by Crunchbase. In 2018, the company closed its most recent round of funding and announced two major partnerships: a joint venture with Sierra Nevada Corp to operate balloons for defense intelligence, surveillance & reconnaissance; and a deal with Scepter Inc to measure methane levels in Texas’ Permian Basin.

SPACs have grown in popularity as an alternative to the traditional IPO process for private companies seeking a large injection of cash. Rocket Lab and Planet Labs have both successfully completed SPAC transactions in the past two years, yet space SPACs overall have underperformed compared to legacy aerospace companies; some even experiencing significant stock drops.

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Zara Khan

Zara Khan is a seasoned investigative journalist with a focus on social justice issues. She has won numerous awards for her groundbreaking reporting and has a reputation for fearlessly exposing wrongdoing.

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