U.S. bioplastics firm Danimer agrees $890 million deal to go public: sources

FILE PHOTO: A skier looks at a “plastic free zone” sign at the cable car entrance of Pejo 3000, the first ski resort in Italy to ban single-use plastic, in Peio, Trentino, Italy, January 30, 2020. REUTERS/Yara Nardi

(Reuters) – Danimer Scientific has agreed to go public by merging with blank-check acquisition company Live Oak Acquisition Corp LOAK.N, in a deal that values the U.S. bioplastics company at around $890 million, according to people familiar with the matter.

It is the latest example of a company opting to go public by merging with a so-called special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), rather than through a traditional initial public offering (IPO).

A wave of companies, including sports betting platform DraftKings Inc DKNG.O and U.S. healthcare-services company MultiPlan Inc, have agreed to deals with SPACs to go public this year.

A SPAC is a shell company which raises cash in an IPO with the goal of buying an unidentified private company, usually within two years. It can offer a privately held company immediate certainty on the valuation it will achieve when it goes public, as opposed to punting on a traditional IPO. The downside often is the compensation of SPAC executives, who can request to receive significant stakes in the combined company for themselves.

For Bainbridge, Georgia-based Danimer, the deal with Live Oak will give it funding to continue its plans to expand capacity which were stunted earlier this year by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Danimer sells renewable and sustainable biopolymers which are biodegradable and compostable, a greener alternative to traditional plastic products.

The global biopolymer market is seen exceeding $13 billion by 2021, according to data from Transparency Market Research.

Live Oak raised $200 million in May 2020 through an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange.

Danimer will continue to be led by Chief Executive Stephen Croskrey.

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