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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The legal battle between flying taxi companies Archer Aviation and Wisk Aero is threatening to scuttle Archer's deal to go public via a SPAC led by billionaire investment banker Ken Moelis.

Driving the news: Proxy advisor Institutional Shareholder Services recommended that SPAC unitholders vote against the deal, which has been downsized in terms of both enterprise value and number of shares being offered.

  • In short: ISS argues the deal presents much more risk than reward.

Why it matters: Many private companies (and their VC investors) have favored SPACs over IPOs, because they provided more speed and certainty. But that's no longer true, based on rising redemption rates.

  • Caveat: SPAC holders don't always listen to ISS, which has demonstrated an aversion to flying vehicle mergers. ISS opposed the SPAC deal for Joby Aero, which passed anyway, and also opposed the SPAC deal for Lilium, which hasn't yet held its vote.

Backstory: Wisk, backed by Boeing and Google co-founder Larry Page, in April accused Archer in federal court of poaching employees who had stolen trade secrets.

  • Archer, backed by Stellantis and United Airlines, countersued, arguing that Wisk was defaming Archer and improperly using the courts to suppress competition, asking for $1 billion in damages.
  • A judge recently denied Wisk's request for a preliminary injunction against Archer, writing: "Wisk’s theory—while plausibly pleaded—does not fully add up."

What's next: Unitholders in Moelis' SPAC, called Atlas Crest Investment, will need to make their decisions before the court does.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Oct 21, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Trump's new venture could be peak SPAC

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Former President Trump last night announced plans to launch a digital media network called "Truth Social," and said it would go public via a SPAC called Digital World Acquisition (Nasdaq: DWAC).

What to know: So far, this is a joke. The press release didn't contain even basic information, such as the new company's CEO. In fact, the only execs mentioned are Trump (as chairman) and veteran TV producer Scott St. John as head of a subscription streaming service.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Oct 22, 2021 - Economy & Business

Roller coaster day for Trump SPAC stock

Expand chart
Source: YCharts; Chart: Axios Visuals

Friday was a bumpy one for the SPAC that recently agreed to take Donald Trump's new media company public, at one point gaining more than $4.5 billion in market value.

Inside the numbers: Shared of Digital World Acquisition Corp. (Nasdaq: DWAC) closed at $45.50 on Thursday, the first day of trading after the Trump announcement, and then opened at $118.79 on Friday before hitting a high of $166.64.

Amazon warehouse workers in New York file petition to hold unionization vote

Amazon workers and their supporters rally outside the National Labor Relations Board's regional office in Brooklyn, New York City, after filing a petition requesting an election to form a union. Photo: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Amazon warehouse workers in New York City filed a petition on Monday with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to hold a vote on unionization.

Why it matters: The move comes six months after an organizing effort was defeated at Amazon's distribution center in Alabama.