World View to go public via SPAC Deal with Leo Holdings
World View and Leo Holdings Corp. II (NYSE: LHC), a publicly-traded special purpose acquisition company, have entered into a definitive business combination agreement that will result in World View becoming a publicly listed company. The transaction values the combined company at an estimated enterprise value of $350 million. Upon closing of the transaction, the combined company will continue operating as World View.
World View plans to use the capital to expand its global remote sensing business into new markets and industries that stand to benefit from the unique advantages offered by remote sensing via the stratosphere, not available with traditional satellite imaging or fixed-wing aircraft monitoring. World View will also continue developing its next-generation capabilities including its space tourism and research and education businesses.
As a result of the transaction with Leo, World View may receive up to $121 million in gross proceeds, assuming no shareholders elect to redeem their shares in connection with the proposed business combination and after giving effect to a proposed transaction financing contemplated to be raised by both of the parties with target proceeds of $75 million.
The Boards of Directors of World View and Leo each unanimously approved the transaction. The transaction will require the approval of the stockholders of World View and the shareholders of Leo and is subject to other customary closing conditions. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2023.
“This announcement represents a major milestone in World View’s business model,” said Ryan M. Hartman, World View president and CEO. “We exist to inspire, create and explore new perspectives for a radically improved future. This merger with Leo allows us to scale our demonstrated expertise and strong foundation of strategic partnerships to meet the growing market demand for data and analytics from the stratosphere.”
The global remote sensing market is expected to grow to $23 billion by the end of 2027 at 9.8% CAGR (Hexa Research, 2019). World View believes this growth will come from a variety of verticals, including defense and national security, energy and power, agriculture, weather monitoring and other commercial industries.
“World View is already a leader in the burgeoning stratospheric economy, with notable mission successes across several key strategic partners and critical patent-protected technologies,” said Lyndon Lea, president and CEO of Leo. “Combining World View’s proven business model and mission-driven vision for the future with the institutional knowledge of the Leo team, we are excited and confident in World View’s ability to scale its global reach across its commercial and government offerings.”
Filling a Critical Gap in Remote Sensing
World View’s unique approach to remote sensing via stratospheric balloons offers significant advantages not available via the traditional imaging sources of satellites and fixed-wing aircraft. World View offers its customers superior imaging resolution by flying five times closer to Earth than traditional satellites. Additionally, through its proprietary altitude-control technology, World View provides up to 45 days of continuous flight, while delivering persistent, small-radius station keeping over a specific area of interest for several weeks at a time.
World View’s configurable stratospheric remote sensing systems allow governments, organizations and commercial entities to gather data and analytics to meet a variety of mission criteria. Versatility of payloads allows systems to collect data from multiple sensors at once, including electro-optical, short- and mid-wave infrared, radar, hyperspectral, thermal and more.
The data collected from a stratospheric remote sensing flight informs actions across a wide and rapidly expanding range of use cases, including:
+ Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR)
+ Asset monitoring
+ Supply-chain tracking
+ Pipeline and utility line inspection
+ Methane detection
+ Non-invasive energy exploration
+ Wildfire and storm tracking
+ Climate change research
+ Agricultural monitoring
+ Maritime monitoring
+ Key Strategic Partnerships and MOUs
More than 120 stratospheric flights and 10,275,000 vertical feet flown, World View has provided remote sensing services to leading government and commercial organizations, including NASA, NOAA, United States Department of Defense, United States Air Force, Sierra Nevada Corporation, Raytheon Technologies, Southwest Research Institute and many others.
World View has also several key active strategic partnerships and memorandums of understanding in place, including Sierra Nevada Corporation, ScepterAir/ExxonMobil and Infleqtion. World View expects these partnerships will drive continued advancements in remote sensing services available from the stratosphere across several key industries, filling a critical gap in the existing space imaging and analytics continuum.
Buoyed by a spirit of exploration and innovation, World View has continued to identify novel ways to explore and better understand the planet from the stratosphere. This includes better understanding of the stratosphere, itself. The stratosphere is a largely understudied layer of the atmosphere, leading to significant opportunities to design specialized research and education missions for scientists, educators and students. World View is currently developing a more robust research and education mission program to facilitate these scientific missions. One such example is World View’s partnership with NASA to carry student experiments into the stratosphere.
In addition to World View’s quickly growing remote sensing business, in October 2021, World View announced its future expansion into the space tourism and exploration business. This next-generation business unit builds upon World View’s patented technology, expertise, experience flying and navigating the stratosphere. In less than one year after announcing this future capability, over 1,200 participants have already reserved their $50,000 seats, representing the greatest number of seats sold in the space tourism category to date.
Kirkland and Ellis LLP served as legal advisor to Leo. Guggenheim Securities served as exclusive financial advisor to World View and Cooley LLP served as legal advisor to World View. As part of the transaction, Leo has entered into a partnership with New Vista Capital to add industry experts to Leo’s established team that will continue to advise the combined company after the transaction closes.
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