Law firm trio fuels self-driving tech startup Aurora’s $13 bln SPAC deal

Signage is seen outside of the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in Washington, D.C., U.S., August 30, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

  • Summary
  • Companies
  • Law firms
  • Wilson Sonsini represents return client Aurora
  • Skadden bolsters relationship with Reinvent SPAC platform
  • Sullivan & Cromwell guides placement agent Goldman Sachs

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(Reuters) – Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; and Sullivan & Cromwell are steering self-driving technology startup Aurora’s $13 billion merger with a blank check company backed by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and fellow Silicon Valley veteran Mark Pincus.

Aurora and special purpose acquisition company Reinvent Technology Partners Y announced their union on Thursday as other companies creating self-driving car technology have rolled toward their own stock market debuts.

Wilson Sonsini is guiding Aurora after supporting the company’s acquisition of Uber Technologies Inc’s self-driving unit, Advanced Technologies Group, according to a December firm press release.

The Reinvent SPAC has turned to repeat adviser Skadden. The firm has tapped a team including mergers and acquisitions partners Howard Ellin and Christopher Barlow, and capital markets partner Gregg Noel for the transaction.

Noel previously participated in Reinvent’s March initial public offering alongside underwriters’ counsel Ropes & Gray, according to regulatory filings. The offering included $850 million worth of shares.

SPACs or blank check companies raise money through IPOs to merge with privately held companies and take them public.

Skadden has maintained a near exclusive relationship with Hoffman and Pincus’ series of SPACs.

Noel led the IPOs for Reinvent Technology Partners and Reinvent Technology Partners Z, as well as Reinvent Technology Partners X’s planned offering, filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission show.

The firm said in February that it was also advising on Reinvent Technology Partners’ $6.6 billion merger with aircraft maker Joby Aviation.

For the combination announced Thursday, Aurora’s financial adviser is Allen & Co LLC; Reinvent’s is Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC and the SPAC transaction committee’s is Houlihan Lokey Capital Inc.

The combined company will take the name Aurora Innovation Inc and begin trading on Nasdaq after the merger under the new ticker symbol “AUR” once the deal wraps up in 2021’s second half.

A Sullivan & Cromwell team is advising Goldman Sachs as the placement agent for a private investment in public equity connected to the merger.

Aurora and Reinvent’s union comes roughly three weeks after self-driving truck technology maker Embark Trucks Inc revealed plans to go public through a nearly $5.2 billion black-check merger directed by Latham & Watkins and Husch Blackwell.

Read more:
Self-driving startup Aurora to go public in $13 bln SPAC deal
Latham, Husch Blackwell steer self-driving truck tech firm’s SPAC tie-up

Sierra Jackson

Sierra Jackson reports on legal matters in major mergers and acquisitions, including deal work, litigation and regulatory changes. Reach her at sierra.jackson@thomsonreuters.com

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Sierra Jackson