SPAC: Mortgage Startup Better To Go Public In $7.7B Deal

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A startup offering home mortgages online is going public in a big merger deal with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC). That startup is Better.com, one that funded $24bn worth of mortgages on its platform in 2020 alone.

  • Better.com was a major beneficiary of the hot US real estate market that came with the pandemic last year. It’s in fact that it funded almost five times the mortgages it did in 2020 than in the previous year 2019.
Details:
  • Better.com has agreed to merge with Aurora Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ: AURC) and become a publicly-traded company. The terms of the merger values Better at $7.7bn on a post-money equity basis.
  • From its merger, Better is getting $220mn of cash held in trust by Aurora Acquisition Corp. plus a $1.5bn PIPE round led by SoftBank, a major investor in Better before now. 
  • Out of the total $1.7bn cash that Better will get from its merger, $950mn will be paid out to its shareholders while it’s left with $778mn for general corporate purposes. Better is fast-growing and profitable so as to justifying the large cash payout to its shareholders. 

Highlights:

  • Better is a five-year-old startup. In its short time of existence, it grew into a digital mortgage provider that brought in $876mn in revenue in 2020, compared to $89mn in the previous year. 
  • Better issues home mortgages to customers with a process primarily done online. The mortgages it sell comes from a network of partner financial institutions, itself the middleman in the process taking cuts as revenue.
  • Going from scratch to almost $900mn in sales in just five years makes Better a major outlier in the world of startup success. Now, it’s set to go public in a $7.7bn deal, making its success much stronger.
  • For all its success, Better hasn’t been without some controversy. There have been claims of “flagrant self-dealing” and fraud against the company’s founder and CEO, Vishal Garg, by some investors associated with the company as well as previous fraud accusations against Garg from a former business partner.
  • Better’s SPAC merger is expected to be completed in this year’s fourth quarter.

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