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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

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Jan 14, 2021 - Economy & Business

Petco IPO raises $817 million

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Petco, a San Diego-based pet supplies and services company owned by CVC Capital Partners and CPPIB, raised $817 million in its IPO.

Why it matters: The company priced above its expected range, $18 vs. $14–$16, reflecting how the public markets just can't get enough of companies that cater to the cuddly fuzzballs.

30 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Read: Pete Buttigieg's opening statement ahead of confirmation hearing

Pete Buttigieg, President Biden's nominee to be secretary of transportation, in December. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/AFP via Getty Images

Pete Buttigieg, President Biden's nominee to lead the Transportation Department, will tell senators he plans to prioritize the health and safety of public transportation systems during the pandemic — and look to infrastructure projects to rebuild the economy — according to a copy of his prepared remarks obtained by Axios.

Driving the news: Buttigieg will testify at 10 a.m. ET before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. He is expected to face a relatively smooth confirmation process, though GOP lawmakers may press him on "green" elements of Biden's transportation proposals.

Off the Rails

Episode 8: The siege

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 8: The siege. An inside account of the deadly insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6 that ultimately failed to block the certification of the Electoral College. And, finally, Trump's concession.

On Jan. 6, White House deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger entered the West Wing in the mid-afternoon, shortly after his colleagues' phones had lit up with an emergency curfew alert from D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.