Spanish Car-Charging Startup Valued At $1.5 Billion In SPAC Deal

Wallbox Chargers, the maker of electric-vehicle chargers founded by a former Tesla Inc. manager, will list in New York after merging with blank-check company Kensington Capital Acquisition Corp. II.

The deal values Wallbox at about $1.5 billion and will raise $330 million for the company, including $100 million from Janus Henderson Investors, Luxor Capital and Kensington Capital Partners, according to a statement Wednesday. Existing Wallbox shareholders will retain about 78% of the equity after the listing.

While there are several companies focused on making chargers for public spaces, there is a dearth of firms specializing in residential chargers, the blank-check firm’s Chairman Justin Mirro said in an interview. This is what attracted the Kensington Capital Partners-backed SPAC to Wallbox, as well as its “industry-leading operating margins,” he said.

The transaction adds to a rising trend of going public by merging with special purpose acquisition companies as an alternative to a traditional initial public offering, a route which has become particularly popular in the electric-vehicle sector.

Another Kensington Capital Partners SPAC struck a similar deal last year with electric-vehicle battery startup QuantumScape Corp. And the likes of Nikola Corp., Fisker Inc., Lordstown Motors Corp. and U.K.-based Arrival Ltd. have also recently gone public via blank-check mergers. Still, many of these have struggled as publicly traded companies.

Wallbox has developed a bi-directional charger that can send excess power from a battery to a residential circuit, making the company’s offering particularly attractive to utilities. Chief Executive Officer Enric Asuncion oversaw Tesla’s charging installations in Europe for a year before leaving in 2015 to start Wallbox along with fellow engineer Eduard Casteneda.

Funds from the listing will help Wallbox, which will retain its headquarters in Barcelona, expand both in the U.S. and elsewhere, Asuncion said. The firm will also rely on the experience of Kensington’s board members, many of whom are former automotive executives, he said.

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