HomeToGo first seals merger with Lakestar SPAC on German stock market

BERLIN (Reuters) – Travel tech startup HomeToGo on Wednesday became the first company to strike a deal to float on the German stock market by merging with a publicly traded shell company, as it linked with Lakestar SPAC I of venture capitalist Klaus Hommels.

Merger puts a net worth of 1.2 billion euros ($ 1.4 billion) in HomeToGo, a Berlin-based vacation rental marketplace that connects travelers with online travel agents and owners independent.

HomeToGo, founded in 2014, recovered from a recession at the start of the coronavirus pandemic to post a record gross book value of 1.3 billion euros last year, when it was also close to l ‘balance at an adjusted EBITDA level.

Pandemic trends such as “workations”, when people extend their stay to work remotely, helped fuel a 27% growth in the gross value of bookings to € 904 million in the first half of this year.

HomeToGo achieves 70% of revenue from bookings in its main German-speaking markets through its own site, a share that is increasing compared to commission-based referrals like Airbnb or Booking.com.

“With HomeToGo, we have built a market for vacation rentals that eliminates friction – both on the demand and supply side,” said co-founder and CEO Patrick Andrae, 39, in a statement. interview.

STAY IN EUROPE

Hommels, founder of Switzerland-based venture capital fund Lakestar, launched the first Special Purpose Acquisition Company, or SPAC, in Frankfurt earlier this year with the aim of creating a path for startups to go public in Europe. rather than having to float the largest US stock market.

Its search for a target was short: Lakestar previously backed a $ 170 million investment round at HomeToGo in 2018 that valued the company at $ 630 million, meaning HomeToGo more than doubled in value since then.

“We knew each other,” Hommels told Reuters. “We could do some due diligence on the team’s ability to execute.”

In addition to the 275 million euros that Lakestar SPAC raised in February, investors will commit an additional 75 million euros in a so-called public private equity investment (PIPE) as part of the merger.

Hommels, 54, has invested more than € 20m of his own money in ‘friends and family’ PIPE, describing HomeToGo as one of the few ways that investors can expose themselves to a post-pandemic reopening economy and travel.

The current shareholders of HomeToGo will retain 69% of the capital, the backers of Lakestar SPAC I 25% and the investors of PIPE 6%.

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021, subject to shareholder approval, and the company will be listed in Frankfurt under the symbol “HTG”. ($ 1 = 0.8475 euros)

Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Steve Orlofsky

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