German eVTOL manufacturer Lilium is reportedly in talks with Qell Special Acquisition Corporation, according to persons involved closely to the matter. Closure of a potential deal that values Lilium at over $2 billion would be another instantiation in a series of announcements including BLADE UAM’s deal with EXPC, Archer (ACIC), and Joby (RTP), all assuming SPAC mergers in order to maximize available capital while massively cutting the risk involved.
While discussions are underway, there is no firm indication of deal proceedings advancing at this time, and if terms do not finalize the discussion could terminate with Lilium being approached by any other number of SPACs poised to make entry into the aerial mobility market.
TransportUP previously reported in February of 2021 on Lilium’s proposed Floridian operations network, an aerial mobility network that would be the result of a joint collaboration between Lilium and Ferrovial SA (construction counterpart) that includes design and build of 10 vertiports.
Qell is led by Barry Engle, a former GM executive. According to SEC filings, the SPAC raised $350 million in a September IPO. The fund stated that investment targets would include next-generation mobility, sustainable industrial technology, and enabling technologies that support development.
Another firm that is unspoken for within the eVTOL space currently is that of New Vista Acquisition Corp (NVSAU), which IPO’ed on February 17th with a $240 million raise slated for investment in the same fields as Qell, with the addition of artificial intelligence and other enabling technologies. Any proposed eVTOL acquisition target of New Vista would be pure speculation at this point, but companies like Lilium would fit the defined scope of the SPAC’s investment strategy. NVSAU Board Member Kirsten Bartouk Touw reported to evtol.com that the focus of the SPAC spans a wider scope than strictly eVTOL manufacturers, and includes companies that are ready to go public.
Why it’s important: 2021 has been a banner year for investment in aerial mobility. Billions of dollars of investment have poured into the industry over the past three months, and additional funds, SPACs, and private investors alike are poised to take advantage of the potential long-term growth and value propositions of aerial mobility as they stake financial commitments toward the industry which still carries a respectable quantity of risk. As further deals close, expect leaders among aerial mobility to more firmly cement their standing among the ranks of other eVTOL companies as they benefit from the increased amount of resources and financing.