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Texas firm taking Europe’s EVBox public in $1.4 billion deal

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TPG Pace Beneficial Finance Corp., a special purpose acquisition company, agreed to acquire EV Charged BV, a unit of French utility Engie SA that specializes in EV charging technology.

The deal will create a combined entity, EVBox Group, with a valuation of about $1.4 billion, the companies said Thursday. It will give EV Charged, which does business as EVBox, an implied enterprise value of $969 million. Engie, which acquired EVBox in 2017, will retain a stake of more than 40 percent.

Founded in 2010, Amsterdam-based EVBox makes hardware and software, and operates a network of more than 190,000 EV charge ports in 70 countries. The transaction with Fort Worth, Texas-based TPG Pace is set to provide the company with the means to broaden its technology offerings and expand globally. TPG Pace shares surged 110 percent to $23.42 in morning trading Friday.

“We’ve built out a dominant pan-European position and are convinced that joining forces with a strong American shareholder will help us accelerate our growth in North America,” EVBox CEO Kristof Vereenooghe said in an interview.

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EVBox has developed products approved for utility rebate programs in U.S. states including California and New York, Vereenooghe said. In February, the company announced it had leased a production facility in Libertyville, Ill.

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“We’re expecting explosive growth in electric vehicles and are excited about the impact EVBox can have in reducing carbon emissions,” said Karl Peterson, a TPG senior partner who oversees TPG Pace Group, the private equity firm’s SPAC effort.

The combined entity is expected to have about $425 million in cash on hand, in part from a $225 million public investment in private equity, or PIPE, raised from investors including Wellington Management, funds managed by BlackRock Inc. and Neuberger Berman, as well as Inclusive Capital Partners.

TPG Pace raised $350 million in an October initial public offering, with a goal of acquiring a target with strong environmental, social and governance practices.

Other companies that make or provide technology for EVs have turned to SPACs for fresh capital. ChargePoint, Fisker Inc., Nikola Corp., Arrival and Velodyne Lidar Inc. are among those that have struck deals to go public through blank-check firms.

Three more SPAC deals have been announced in the auto industry in the last two days. 

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