As Tesla stock soars, Fisker intends to go public

As Tesla stock soars, electric-car startup Fisker Inc. announced Monday that it plans to become a publicly-listed company.

In order to go public, Fisker will merge with Spartan Energy Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition firm backed by private equity firm Apollo Global Management. The deal values the combined companies at $2.9 billion, Fisker said via press release.

The deal matches the approach of Nikola Motors, which went public last month through a reverse merger with VectoIQ, another publicly-traded special-purpose acquisition firm, noted CNBC.

The second car company started by designer Henrik Fisker, Fisker Inc. hasn’t delivered any vehicles to customers. It plans to use the proceeds from a stock sale to fund continued development work on its Ocean electric SUV, which Fisker previously said would begin deliveries in 2022.

Henrik Fisker and the Fisker Ocean

Henrik Fisker and the Fisker Ocean

Fisker Inc. is one of many startups looking to replicate the success of Tesla, both in terms of product and stock prices.

It’s been 10 years since Tesla’s initial public offering (IPO). The automaker’s shares were initially priced at $17, which analysts then called aggressive. Prior to Tesla’s IPO, Ford had been the last automaker to go public on the United States stock market.

It’s quite a reversal of fates.

Fisker Ocean

Fisker Ocean

At that time, privately held Fisker Automotive—Henrik Fisker’s original company—was thought to be in the better financial position. The company had secured a facility in Finland also used by Porsche, and Leonardo DiCaprio, Al Gore, and Colin Powell were at the top of the order list for its Karma plug-in hybrid.

Tesla soon was trading at a higher share price than some other major automakers, and Musk entered a long, antagonistic battle with short sellers—culminating in his 2018 announcement the company might go private.

Fisker Automotive declared bankruptcy in 2013, after Henrik Fisker had stepped down from leadership. The remains of the company were bought by Chinese auto-parts conglomerate Wanxiang, and reconstituted into Karma Automotive. The new company revived the Fisker Karma as the Karma Revero, and has discussed plans for additional models.

2012 Fisker Karma

2012 Fisker Karma

On Friday, Tesla surged past $1,500 a share. Not all electric automakers have done especially well on the stock market, though.

Shares of Chinese firm Nio aren’t selling much above their initial price. Nikola shares haven’t fizzled, but they haven’t surged either. But that hasn’t stopped minor players like Mullen Technologies, a California-based firm marketing a Chinese-made electric sports car, from seeking IPO schemes.

Do you see going public as a good thing for EV makers now? Or was Tesla the exception?

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