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Shell acquires Volta in EV charging expansion

Illustration of an electrical plug and cord forming the shape of a dollar sign.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

A U.S. subsidiary of oil-and-gas giant Shell acquired Volta, a San Francisco-based electric vehicle charging provider that integrated advertising with its public chargers.

  • The all-cash deal is valued at about $169 million, the companies said in dual press releases.

Why it matters: Shell has steadily grown its footprint in EV charging, part of an accelerating arms race with other oil-and-gas companies that have branched into electric mobility.

What's happening: Shell USA is buying all of Volta's Class A common stock at $0.86 per share.

  • The deal is expected to close in H1.

Context: Volta calls itself both an EV charging provider and media company. Investors were not quite convinced:

  • The company's NYSE share price bottomed out since its SPAC merger in August 2021.
  • It was trading at about $0.73 at close yesterday, from a peak of $15.03 less than two years ago.

Meanwhile: The acquisition is Shell's latest deal across the EV value chain.

The intrigue: Volta in November received grant funding from the U.S. Department of Energy's ARPA-E program to develop and commercialize new fast-charging technologies.

💭 Our thought bubble: Shell managed to snag over 3,050 charge points — and a potentially lucrative advertising business — for a steal.

  • Plus, with the program funded by ARPA-E, Shell is getting the jump on potential new charging tech.
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