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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Footprint, a Gilbert, Arizona-based material sciences company focused on eliminating single-use plastics, agreed to go public at an implied $1.6 billion valuation via Gores Holdings VIII, a SPAC led by private equity billionaire Alec Gores.

Why it matters: Single-use plastics are an environmental calamity, with more than 130 metric tons estimated to have been thrown away in 2019. A lot of that ends up floating in the world's oceans, slowly breaking down into microplastics that can't be found or easily filtered, while most of the rest is dumped into landfills or burned (thus adding to CO2 emissions).

Details: The deal includes $460 million of PIPE financing from backers like Koch Strategic Platforms, including $150 million in Series C preferred stock to be funded immediately. Among Footprint's private backers have been Olympus Partners, Cleveland Avenue, JBS, Sweetgreen and Conagra.

The bottom line: "Increased government regulation, heightened corporate sustainability efforts and changing societal preferences have been a boost to its business, with many consumer-packaged-goods companies seeking alternatives to single-use plastic," Bloomberg writes.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to actually deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russia has shown "no signs of de-escalating," and continues to amass troops on Ukraine's borders.

Updated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business

S&P 500 on track for worst-ever start to year

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Stocks suffered their steepest drop of the year early Monday, putting the S&P 500 on course for its worst-ever start to a year.

Driving the news: The benchmark S&P 500 dropped for its fifth straight day, with losses nearing 3% in early trading, momentarily putting it on track to fall into a "correction." Some of the steepest losses were recovered in early afternoon trading.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
3 hours ago - Health

Health care workers hit new breaking point

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The ranks of health care workers are dwindling and stretching what it means to be reaching their "breaking points," particularly at small nonprofit hospitals.

The big picture: Even as Omicron cases have begun to wane in some places, many hospitals are still fielding a crush of patients amid record employee callouts.