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Lidar Maker Cepton in Merger Talks With Growth Capital SPAC

Automotive technology company Cepton Technologies Inc. is in discussions to go public through a reverse merger with a blank-check company, according to people familiar with the matter.

The San Jose, California-based startup is seeking to combine with Growth capital Acquisitions Corp. in a deal that is valued at about $1.5 billion including debt, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.null

A deal for Cepton, which makes the so-called lidar technology that tracks a vehicle’s external environment, is expected to be announced as soon as this week, the people said. A final agreement hasn’t been reached and talks could still end without one, they said.

Representatives for Cepton and Growth Capital declined to comment.

Cepton would be the latest in a string of lidar technology startups to go public via a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. That group includes luminar Technologies Inc.,velodyne Lidar Inc.and Innoviz technologies Inc.

Lidar is among the most expensive components of autonomous vehicles and is key to enabling more advanced self-driving features. With the promise of fully autonomous robotaxis still years away, lidar companies are targeting more-limited features in passenger cars and products such as industrial robots and consumer devices.

Cepton, started in 2016, is run by co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Jun Pei, who also previously worked at Velodyne, according to the company’s website. The company said in a statements last month that it secured a lidar production award with a Detroit-based global automotive manufacturer in a partnership with Japan’s Kioto manufacturing Co., which is also an investor.

Growth Capital raised $172.5 million in its initial public offering in January. It was founded by executives from Nautilus Energy Management, Maxim Group and Hudson Bay Capital. Growth Capital’s co-chief executive officers, Prokopios Tsirigakis and George Syllantavos, previously led three blank-check companies that consummated deals, including a 2018 transaction that created Phunware Inc., according to the SPAC’s filings.

Source: Bloomberg