Jan 8, 2021 - Economy

SoFi going public via SPAC

Illustration of bar graph made of blank checks

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

SoFi, a San Francisco-based personal finance company, agreed to go public via a reverse merger with a blank-check company called Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. V at an $8.65 billion valuation.

Why it matters: This crowns SCH's Chamath Palihapitiya as the king of tech unicorn SPACs, following earlier deals for Virgin Galactic and Opendoor.

Backstory: The company began raising a new private round last October, with plans to IPO in the second half of 2021, and reached out to Social Capital about participating, SoFi CEO Anthony Noto said.

  • Social Capital demurred, saying it wasn't doing much private-market work, but could be interested in a SPAC.
  • By mid-December, the two sides had a deal, with SoFi also securing $370 million in private funding from T. Rowe Price (not part of the reverse merger's $1.2 billion PIPE, but done at same share price).
  • SoFi also spoke seriously with three other SPAC sponsors.

Bottom line: “Founded in 2011, SoFi capitalized on the retrenchment of banks from large swaths of consumer lending in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. It started with refinancing student loans and expanded into mortgages and personal loans. The company said in October it had received preliminary approval from U.S. regulators for its application for a national bank charter. The company has also branched out into stock trading and cash management accounts.” — Reuters

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