NEW YORK, Oct 21 (Reuters) - CarLotz Inc, a U.S. consignment
store for used vehicles, is nearing a deal to go public through
a merger with blank-check acquisition company Acamar Partners
Acquisition Corp at a valuation of close to $830
million, including debt, people familiar with the matter said on
The deal would make CarLotz the third major U.S. online car
seller to go public this year, following in the trails of Vroom
Inc and Shift Technologies Inc, as online
vehicle sales boom during the coronavirus pandemic powered by
consumers seeking to practice social distancing.
An agreement could be announced as soon as Thursday, the
sources said, requesting anonymity because the matter is
confidential. CarLotz and Acamar declined to comment.
Richmond, Virginia-based CarLotz, which was founded in 2011,
operates a consignment platform that splits profits from vehicle
sales with the car owners. This business model differs from
those of Vroom and Shift, which buy and then sell used cars on
their own. CarLotz's financial backers include TRP Capital
Acamar Partners is a Nasdaq-listed special-purpose
acquisition company (SPAC), led by private equity investors Juan
Carlos Torres Carretero and Luis Ignacio Solorzano Aizpuru.
SPACs are shell companies that use initial public offering
(IPO) proceeds to acquire a private company, which then becomes
public as a result.
Merging with a SPAC has become a popular alternative to an
IPO, as it involves less regulatory scrutiny and more certainty
over the market valuation and funds raised.
Online sales account for only around 1% of the roughly $840
billion Americans spend annually on used cars. But after
numerous U.S. states went into COVID-19 lockdowns in March, the
advantages of socially distant purchases have gained traction
Vroom sold shares in its IPO at $22 apiece in June and the
company's stock now trades at around $47. Shift last week
completed a SPAC merger with Insurance Acquisition Corp and its
stock is trading at around $11, slightly above Insurance's $10
Shares of larger rival Carvana Co have more than
doubled this year.
(Reporting by Joshua Franklin in New York
Editing by Matthew Lewis)