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Tishman Speyer-backed SPAC to take smart-lock maker Latch public in $1.6 bln deal

Jan 25 (Reuters) - Latch Inc said on Monday it plans to go public through a merger with blank-check company TS Innovation Acquisitions Corp, backed by U.S. property developer Tishman Speyer, in a deal that values the smart-lock maker at $1.56 billion.

Under the deal, Latch will receive around $510 million in cash, including $190 million from investors such as Chamath Palihapitiya, BlackRock Inc, D1 Capital Partners and Fidelity Management & Research Company LLC.

Shares of TS Innovation, which raised $300 million in its November IPO, jumped nearly 75% in premarket trading following the announcement.

Palihapitiya has been one of the most prolific sponsors of special purpose acquisition companies (SPAC), merging them with a range of companies, from space tourism firm Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc to home-selling platform Opendoor Technologies Inc.

He has also taken part in PIPE (private investment in public equity) rounds of companies that went public through SPAC deals, including those of metal 3D printing technology provider Desktop Metal, rare earths miner MP Materials and electric bus manufacturer Proterra.

SPACs have emerged as a popular route for companies seeking to go public with less regulatory scrutiny and more certainty about valuation. Such shell companies have raised over $82 billion in 2020, more than four times the amount raised in 2019, according to data from Dealogic.

Founded in 2014, Latch has earlier partnered with Alphabet's Google to develop smart thermostats and United Parcel Sevices Inc to make smart locks in New York apartment buildings. (bit.ly/2LTGLuc) (reut.rs/3qVu0y5)

The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021 and Latch will be listed on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “LTCH”. (Reporting by Sohini Podder in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)

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