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CBRE SPAC readies $1.6bn merger with Altus Power

CBRE Acquisition Holdings, a special purpose acquisition company launched by CBRE last year, will merge with Altus Power in a deal that values the combined company at $1.58bn.

Owned by its management team and Blackstone Credit, Altus Power offers customers locally-sited solar generation, energy storage and EV-charging stations across the US.

The merger with CBRE Acquisition Holdings (trading as CBAH) is expected to generate gross proceeds of about $678m in cash, which the company will use to fund its growth strategies and strengthen its balance sheet. Proceeds include $275m in additional private investment, anchored by CBRE.

Expected to complete in Q4 2021, the merger will take Altus Power public on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol AMPS.

Altus Power’s co-CEOs Lars Norell and Gregg Felton will continue in their roles, while the board of directors will include representation from Altus Power, CBRE, Blackstone Credit and ValueAct Capital.

Norell said: “The CBRE partnership we are announcing today, through the proposed combination with CBAH, will allow Altus Power to leverage the strength and reach of the world’s largest real estate services company, along with Blackstone’s exceptional, long-standing sponsorship, further enhancing our ability to serve corporate and public clients with onsite clean energy generation and storage.”

Bill Concannon, CEO of CBAH, said: “This transaction will deliver the financial and strategic resources to accelerate Altus Power’s growth plan and drive long-term shareholder value creation.

“CBRE is excited to help Altus Power bring its clean energy solutions and expertise to support our clients in reducing their carbon footprint and meeting their own sustainability goals. This is an increasingly urgent imperative for real estate occupiers and investors alike.”

The deal between Altus Power and CBAH will be the first SPAC merger led by a publicly-traded US corporate.

The year of the SPAC

So far this year, SPACs (or ‘blank-cheque companies’) have raised $113.6m – 36% more than in 2020 and nearly 10 times more than in 2019 – as businesses consider alternative ways to go public.

A blank-cheque company raises money to acquire or merge with a private company sometime in the future, thereby taking it public in a listing process that can be faster than a traditional IPO.

Among the swathe of SPACs that have emerged since 2020 are several that have targeted real estate. Opendoor went public in December after a merger with Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings II, while smart lock startup Latch started trading in June after its merger with a Tishman Speyer SPAC.

Ongoing mergers include Gores Holdings VI, which is expected to soon complete its combination with digital twin platform Matterport. Meanwhile, Fifth Wall has launched three SPACs this year alone, the first of which – Fifth Wall Acquisition Corp 1 – has announced SmartRent as its intended merger target.

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