Smart-lock maker Latch going public in $1.6 billion Tishman Speyer-backed deal

(Reuters) – Smart-lock maker Latch Inc said on Monday it has agreed to go public through a merger with TS Innovation Acquisitions Corp, a blank-check acquisition company backed by U.S. property developer Tishman Speyer, in a deal valuing it at $1.56 billion.

Latch will receive around $510 million in cash, including $190 million from investors such as Chamath Palihapitiya, BlackRock Inc, D1 Capital Partners and Fidelity Management & Research Company LLC.

Shares of TS Innovation, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) which raised $300 million in its November initial public offering, were up 43.9% at $14.91 apiece late Monday afternoon.

Founded in 2014, Latch has partnered with Alphabet Inc’s Google to develop smart thermostats and United Parcel Services Inc to make smart locks in New York apartment buildings.

“Real estate as an industry has been technology resistant for decades. We’re now hitting the early stages of the disruption cycle. But it’s just the early stages and the right prop tech companies are going to make a revolutionary difference to our industry,” TS Innovation Chairman and Chief Executive Rob Speyer said in an interview.

SPACs have emerged as a popular route for companies seeking to go public with less regulatory scrutiny and more certainty about valuation than a traditional IPO.

Unlike a regular IPO, a SPAC merger allows the company to use forward financial projections to lay out its pitch to investors, according to CEO Luke Schoenfelder.

“The SPAC structure enabled us to talk about our business and really reflect the growth that we’ve been experiencing as opposed to just looking at historical financials but to really be able to paint the growth picture,” Schoenfelder said.

The deal is expected to close in the second quarter. Latch will be listed on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “LTCH”.

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