Lakestar SPAC to acquire HomeToGo in first German transaction of its kind

(Corrects the reference to FlixMobility in the 12th paragraph)

BERLIN (Reuters) – A listed shell company promoted by venture capitalist Klaus Hommels plans to acquire travel portal HomeToGo in a deal that, if concluded, would be the first of its kind to bring in a business on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

Hommels, founder of venture capital fund Lakestar, in February launched a Special Purpose Acquisition Company, or SPAC, with the aim of allowing a tech startup to stay in Europe rather than following the busy road of the listing in the United States.

Lakestar SPAC I has raised 275 million euros ($ 333 million), saying it would seek to merge with a company worth between 750 million and 4 billion euros.

“Europe must create its own digital sovereignty to strengthen control over its technological innovations,” Hommels said of the proposed deal on Friday.

“HomeToGo is at the forefront of innovation in the travel industry and offers the largest selection of vacation rentals in the world. We believe that together we will create a world-renowned and defining travel technology company, made in Europe. “

The companies, which did not give an assessment for the proposed transaction, said they had entered exclusive talks, but warned there was no guarantee that a binding deal could be reached.

They also said in a statement that they would seek to make a private equity investment, or PIPE, as part of the merger.

PIPE transactions serve as capital raising exercises before the acquired company goes public.

The process is less expensive than a traditional initial public offering.

HomeToGo, a vacation home and rental search engine that operates websites in Europe, America and the Asia-Pacific region, is expected to benefit from the reopening of travel as the COVID-19 pandemic recedes.

It works as an aggregator, unlike Airbnb which directly hosts owners on its platform.

In other travel tech funding, German long-distance travel app FlixMobility said this week it has raised $ 650 million in new funding and will invest in expanding services in Europe and the United States. .

Swiss firm Lakestar, which has raised € 1.2 billion from investors according to Crunchbase, has supported previous rounds of venture capital investment in the two HomeToGo.

Lakestar SPAC I shares rose 2.5% to 10.18 euros, trading above their quoted price of 10 euros.

($ 1 = 0.8254 euros)

Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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