Forge’s SPAC deal is a bet on unicorn illiquidity

As Warby Parker, Freshworks, Amplitude and Toast look to list in the coming weeks, we shouldn’t forget the SPAC boom. This week, for example, Forge Global (Forge), a technology startup that operates a market for secondary transactions in private companies, announced that it would go public via a blank-check combination.

And while we’re not unpacking every single SPAC combination that crosses our radar, the Forge deal is a good one to spend time parsing.

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Why? Several reasons. First, we’re curious about how the company generates revenue and how diversified its revenue is. We’re also interested in how big the market may prove to be for trading secondary shares in unicorns — late-stage tech startup equity is popular on secondary exchanges. Additionally, we want to know whether the deal feels expensive, because that may help us get a heat-check on the SPAC market more broadly.

First, some details concerning the transaction. Then we get to have fun. To work!

The Forge SPAC

Forge is merging with Motive Capital, a blank-check company that raised $360 million in December 2020.

Per the company’s calculations, the combined entity will sport a roughly $2 billion valuation on a “fully diluted equity value on a pro forma basis.” The company’s anticipated enterprise value is a smaller $1.60 billion thanks to an expected $435 million in cash after the deal’s completion, though that number (Read more...)