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Eat Just weighs options for Singapore business

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Eat Just and its Good Meat division are exploring options for its Singapore cultured meat business, which could include a sale, two sources familiar with the situation tell Axios.

Why it matters: The company is being sued by ABEC, a provider of the bioreactors that make cultured meat, for roughly $100 million. ABEC alleges it was not paid for services it provided.

  • Both parties are working actively to reach a settlement, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Details: Eat Just was the first company in the world to gain approval to sell cultured meat commercially, though it was limited initially to Singapore.

  • It planned to scale production in that country, which has made food security a priority.
  • One of the sources said that Eat Just specifically put its Singapore production facility up for sale, noting that the company had sunk some $50 million into the project.
  • A second source, however, said that a range of options was being considered for the entire business unit.

Of note: Eat Just, which has raised north of $850 million, raised $16 million from nonprofit Ahimsa Foundation, Bloomberg initially reported this month.

Yes, but: That amount won't be nearly enough to cover its current liabilities, given the lawsuit.

Zoom out: More broadly, Eat Just is in constant fundraising mode, a source familiar with the situation says.

  • Like other cultured meat companies, Good Meat is still trying to figure out how to make cultured meat at scale so that it is commercially viable.
  • That's despite the fact that it already has FDA clearance to sell its cultivated meat product to the public.

Reality check: It will be difficult for startups that raised — and subsequently spent — loads of money at high valuations to secure more funding.

  • Making cultured meat at a commercial scale and getting consumers to adopt it were always going to be a years-long process.

Catch up fast: Eat Just has been weighing a split of its business, which consists of Good Meat and plant-based egg alternative Just Egg, Axios has previously reported.

  • At one point it indicated a desire to take both businesses public.
  • Unlike Good Meat, Just Egg is already scalable and the fastest-growing part of the business with partnerships with food service providers such as Caribou Coffee, Gregorys Coffee and Pete's Coffee.
  • Eat Just's CEO Josh Tetrick told Axios in March that as an alternative Just Egg could be sold.
  • No decision had been made on the Singapore business, a spokesperson for Eat Just said, though he said the production facility itself has not been up for sale. He declined to comment further.

💭 Richard's thought bubble: Either a sale of Just Egg or its Singapore business or both might help with the near-term cash crunch, but it may not solve Eat Just's longer-term cash needs.

ABEC did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Its law firm, Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg, said only that the parties are not in arbitration.

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