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Exclusive-Softbank-backed Getaround in SPAC merger talks -sources

·1 min read

By Krystal Hu

(Reuters) - Getaround, a car-sharing startup backed by SoftBank Group Corp, is in talks to go public through a merger with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Altitude Acquisition Corp, people familiar with the matter said.

The company has confidentially sought investors to participate in the deal through a private placement in public equity, or PIPE, at a valuation of around $1.7 billion, one of the sources said.

The sources cautioned that terms could change and said there was no certainty of a deal. They asked not to be identified because the negotiations are not public.

Altitude Acquisition Corp declined to comment. Getaround did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Founded in 2009, San Francisco-based Getaround operates a peer-to-peer car-sharing marketplace that allows vehicle owners to rent out their cars on an hourly or daily basis. It operates in over 100 U.S. cities and more than 170 European locations, with 6 million users globally. One of its major competitors, Turo Inc, registered for an initial public offering this month.

Getaround has raised more than $800 million in previous fundraising rounds from investors including Softbank and Menlo Ventures, and was last at more than $1 billion in September 2020, according to PitchBook data.

Like many other travel businesses, Getaround suffered when the COVID-19 pandemic spread last year. It saw customer demand drop by as much as 75%. Its business has recovered as pandemic restrictions eased and travel resumed.

Altitude raised $300 million in an IPO on Nasdaq in December 2020, seeking to merger with a travel-related business.

(Reporting by Krystal Hu in New York; Editing by David Gregorio)