Hong Kong biotech start-up Prenetics plans $1.3 billion SPAC merger

Signage for Prenetics, a Hong Kong-based biotechnology company, at the company’s laboratory in Hong Kong, China, on Jan. 26, 2018.
Anthony Kwan| Bloomberg | Getty Images

Hong Kong biotech company Prenetics is set to merge with Artisan Acquisition, a special purpose acquisition company backed by Hong Kong billionaire Adrian Cheng, according to a source close to the deal.

The SPAC is already traded on the Nasdaq under the ticker ARTU.

SPACs are shell companies set up to raise money through an initial public offering — their sole purpose is to merge with or acquire an existing private company and to take it public. They bypass Wall Street’s traditional IPO process.

Prenetics is a diagnostic and genetic testing company with significant operations in Hong Kong and the U.K. It was founded by serial entrepreneur Danny Yeung and will become the first billion-dollar start-up in Hong Kong to exit its unicorn status.

A technician handles a sample at a Prenetics laboratory in Hong Kong, China, on Jan. 26, 2018.
Anthony Kwan | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The transaction is expected to close by the end of this year. UBS, Citi, Credit Suisse and CICC are financial advisors on the potential de-SPAC transaction.

Artisan raised $339 million in the SPAC, and has signed a further $60 million forward purchase agreements with investment firm Aspex and PAG, a private asset manager for institutional investors, according to the source who requested anonymity as that person was not allowed to discuss the information publicly.

Talks with additional pipe investors are said to be ongoing, with strong initial demand, the source said.

The company has grown significantly since its founding in 2014 with projected revenue in 2021 is expected to be more than $200 million, marking 400% growth on year, according to the source.

Annual revenue is expected to reach $600 million by 2025, said the source.

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