Plant-growing tech firm Benson Hill to go public in $1.35 billion SPAC merger


(Reuters) – Benson Hill is going public by merging with a blank-check firm backed by alternative asset manager Magnetar Capital, giving the plant-growing technology company an enterprise value of about $1.35 billion, it said on Monday.

The company, which uses artificial intelligence, data and a variety of breeding techniques to create food and ingredient products, is combining with special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Star Peak Corp II.

The deal will provide gross proceeds of about $625 million and includes an about $225 million investment from BlackRock, Van Eck Associates, Hedosophia, Lazard Asset Management and others.

The deal will supports Benson Hill’s growth in the plant-based meat segment, which is expected to be worth $140 billion by 2029, the company said.

Benson Hill focuses in part on enhancing soybean and yellow pea ingredients for the plant-based protein market.

SPACs are shell companies that raise funds through an IPO to take a private company public through a merger at a later date.

The combined company will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the new ticker symbol “BHIL”.

The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh and Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Arun Koyyur)