Near, a data intelligence startup has agreed to merge with a blank-check vehicle in a deal worth around $1 billion, the companies announced on Thursday.
Near, which was established in 2012, provides data insights to firms such as Ford, Dunkin Donuts, MetLife, and others.
Near will receive $268 million in gross revenues from the sale with KludeIn I Acquisition Corp, which includes a $95 million private placement. CF Principal Investments, a Cantor Fitzgerald affiliate, has also pledged $100 million in equity investment to the company.
The merger comes at a difficult time for the US special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) market, as regulatory scrutiny tightens and investor redemptions rise.
SPACs, once the hottest ticket on Wall Street, have lost favor due to market volatility and poor stock performance of corporations that have combined with them. This year, the De-SPAC Index, which tracks some of these companies, is down more than 50%.
“We chose SPAC because it was the fastest, most cost-effective, and least risky in the current market for us,” stated Anil Mathews, founder and CEO.
The chief executive added he was not too concerned about the impact of waning enthusiasm for SPACs, because Near is a revenue-generating business “that we have built over a decade”, and has also won the backing of investors like Sequoia and JPMorgan.
SPACs are publicly traded companies that are founded with the goal of merging with a private company, which then becomes public.
Narayan Ramachandran, the former CEO of Morgan Stanley‘s Indian operations, leads KludeIn I Acquisition. Near will be renamed “Near Intelligence Inc” after the purchase is complete, and it hopes to trade on Nasdaq under the ticker “NIR.”