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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 27, 2021 - Economy & Business

Scoop: Varsity Tutors in talks to go public via TPG SPAC

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Nerdy, the parent company of online learning platform Varsity Tutors, is in talks to be acquired by a SPAC affiliated with private equity giant TPG, Axios has learned from multiple sources.

Why it matters: In less than a year, SPAC acquisitions have evolved from a niche market into a widely-accepted alternative to initial public offerings (IPOs).

Updated 2 mins ago - Health

This arthritis drug cost $198 in 2008. Now it's more than $10,000

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In 2008, a box of 30 anti-inflammatory rectal suppositories that treats arthritis, called Indocin, had a price tag of $198. As of Oct. 1, the price of that same box was 52 times higher, totaling $10,350.

Why it matters: As federal lawmakers continue to waver on drug price reforms, Indocin is another example of how nothing prevents drug companies from hiking prices at will and selling them within a broken supply chain.

Fintech's record year

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Massive venture rounds into fintech companies have ballooned this year, pushing up total dollars invested — in just the first three quarters of 2021 — to nearly double the amount in all of 2020, per new PitchBook data.

Why it matters: The maturing of fintech startups means a growing number of companies are able to raise huge later-stage funding rounds as investors look to lock-in their bets.