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Rocket Lab nears merger deal with a SPAC to go public - WSJ

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Feb 28 (Reuters) - Rocket Lab USA is nearing a deal to go public through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company Vector Acquisition that would value the small-satellite launch firm at $4.1 billion, including debt, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The deal could be finalized on Monday, the newspaper reported https://on.wsj.com/3dZbh19, citing people familiar with the matter.

Vector Acquisition is backed by technology-focused private-equity company Vector Capital and raised $300 million in an initial public offering in September.

Vector Acquisition and Rocket Lab did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

Rocket Lab's backers have included defense giant Lockheed Martin Corp. The startup has already launched 97 satellites for the government and private companies for applications that include research and communications, the WSJ said.

Rocket Lab's deal with Vector is expected to include additional funds of about $470 million in the form of a so-called private investment in public equity from investors including BlackRock Inc and Neuberger Berman Group LLC , the newspaper said.

Rocket Lab is expected to use proceeds from the deal to fund development of a medium-lift Neutron launch vehicle tailored for satellite mega-constellations, space missions and commercial spaceflight, the report added.

The Neutron rocket is expected to be able to lift most satellites forecast to launch in the coming years and be positioned as a lower-cost alternative to larger vehicles, according to the report.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru. Editing by Gerry Doyle)