Harley-Davidson’s electric motorcycle brand, LiveWire, merges with a SPAC to go public

LiveWire, the electric motorcycle company spun off from Harley-Davidson, goes public by merging with a special acquisition company, or SPAC. The transaction will net LiveWire approximately $545 million for a pro forma enterprise value of approximately $1.77 billion, Harley-Davidson said in its announcement. LiveWire is the latest electric vehicle company to go public by merging with a SPAC, also known as “blank check” companies.

LiveWire merges with AEA-Bridges Impact Corp. (ABIC), a SPAC formed by John Garcia and Michele Giddens, two private equity executives based in New York and London respectively. Garcia and Giddens teamed up last year for the express purpose of merging with a company that works to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, according to Reuters.

Unusually, there’s a third partner in the deal: Kymco, the Taiwan-based scooter maker. Harley-Davidson describes Kymco as a “strategic partner” that will help manufacture and distribute LiveWire’s electric motorcycle.

The deal will be funded by “ABIC’s $400 million held in trust, a $100 million investment from Harley-Davidson and a $100 million investment from KYMCO, through a PIPE (private equity investment ),” the press release read. When the deal closes, LiveWire’s shares will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “LVW.”

Earlier this year, Harley-Davidson decided to turn LiveWire into its own brand, with the aim of launching several electric motorcycles under the nameplate. The first product of this effort is LiveWire One, a $21,999 electric motorcycle with a range of around 145 miles (depending on riding type).

It’s a similar move to how the 118-year-old company approached its new e-bike brand, Serial 1. The idea is for LiveWire to continue to benefit from its relationship with its parent company while forging its own identity. brand that distinguishes itself from Harley Davidson. The company telegraphed the move in its Hardwire strategic plan to reinvigorate its declining sales over the next five years. This dedicated division would be “focused exclusively on leading the future of electric motorcycles,” the company said in its plan.

According to Harley-Davidson:

LiveWire plans to redefine motorcycling as the all-electric motorcycle industry leader, focusing on the urban market and beyond. As a strong and desirable brand with growing global recognition, LiveWire plans to develop the technology of the future and invest in the capabilities needed to lead the transformation of motorcycling. LiveWire will build on its DNA as a nimble disrupter from the Harley-Davidson lineage, capitalizing on a decade of learnings in the electric vehicle industry and the iconic heritage of the world’s most desirable motorcycle brand.

LiveWire is the latest in a growing line of electric vehicle startups, self-driving vehicle companies and auto suppliers to go public by merging with “blank check” companies, which are publicly traded investment vehicles .

There have been a few hits, like Lucid Motors’ mega-SPAC that valued the luxury electric vehicle company at $20 billion. But there were also some notable flops. Lordstown, Canoo and Nikola are among the electric vehicle companies that have encountered speed bumps after going public. (Even Lucid is now under investigation by the SEC.) There is a feeling that in rushing to cash in on the SPAC boom, these startups have had to contend with the demands of listing on a major exchange.