New Vista Acquisition Corp., the blank-check company founded by former Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg to prime the pump for a future high-tech acquisition, went on the market today with an initial public offering valued at $240 million.
That’s significantly higher than the originally planned $200 million offering.
The IPO comes a little more than a year after Boeing fired Muilenburg amid controversy over his handling of the company’s 737 MAX crisis. Boeing is still dealing with the financial and reputational aftermath of two catastrophic crashes in late 2018 and early 2019, the worldwide grounding of the 737 MAX fleet that resulted, and deep questions that were raised during investigations into Boeing’s practices.
Boeing is now well into the 737 MAX fleet’s return to service under Dave Calhoun, Muilenburg’s successor as Boeing CEO.
During his time at Boeing, Muilenburg was a strong advocate for technologies focusing on advanced air mobility and autonomous flight — the sorts of technologies that could spawn new types of electric-powered, vertical takeoff and landing vehicles, or eVTOLs. Such craft are also known as air taxis, personal air vehicles or flying cars. Many of Boeing’s efforts in that market have been put on hold due to the financial impacts of the 737 MAX crisis and the coronavirus pandemic.
New Vista, which has Muilenburg as chairman and CEO, says it will focus on businesses operating in the space, defense and communications industries, as well as advanced air mobility and logistics. The company is widely expected to target an eVTOL venture for a merger or acquisition.
Blank-check companies — also known as special-purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs — have become popular avenues for taking startups public, and the aerospace industry is no exception. Just this month, a California-based rocket startup called Astra announced a $2.1 billion merger deal with Holicity, a SPAC created by Seattle-area telecom pioneer Craig McCaw. McCaw recently filed papers for another SPAC called Colicity, valued at $275 million.
Several eVTOL ventures — including Joby Aviation, Lilium and Volocopter — are said to be considering SPAC deals.
New Vista’s IPO was structured to offer 24 million units at $10 per unit. Each unit consists of one Class A ordinary share, plus one-third of a redeemable warrant to purchase a share at $11.50. The market price for those units was $10.61 at the close of today’s trading.