(Bloomberg) – Hong Kong Prenetics Ltd.’s Covid-19 testing lab agreed to merge with tycoon Adrian Cheng’s US-listed blank check firm, Artisan Acquisition Corp.

Prenetics has an enterprise value of $ 1.25 billion in the deal to make it public, according to a statement released Thursday. The Special Purpose Acquisition Company, or SPAC, is also raising $ 120 million to support the transaction. Investors in private equity, or PIPE, include Aspex, PAG, Lippo, Dragonstone, and Xen Capital, among others.

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year or the first quarter of 2022, the statement said. The combined company is expected to be listed on Nasdaq under the symbol PRE.

Prenetics will receive up to $ 459 million in cash from the deal, and acquisitions will be a priority going forward, CEO and co-founder Danny Yeung said in an interview.

“The US is going to be a priority market for us, as well as South East Asia,” he said, adding further expansion to the UK and Europe to the list.

Backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Ping An Insurance Group Co., Prenetics was founded as a genetic and DNA testing company, but turned to Covid-19 testing when the pandemic began last year. The company operates in 10 countries and has performed more than 5 million Covid-19 tests, including regular tests provided to English Premier League players and staff, the statement said.

Artisan raised $ 339 million in an initial public offering in May. SPAC sponsor Artisan LLC was founded by CEO of New World Development Co. Cheng, the descendant of one of Hong Kong’s wealthiest families.

One interesting feature of a PSPC merger was the potential for collaboration with Cheng’s businesses spanning retail, hospitality and healthcare, Yeung said.

“We certainly could have chosen the Hong Kong Stock Exchange for an IPO,” he added. “The synergies between Adrian’s ecosystem prompted us to make the decision to opt for PSPC.

UBS Group AG advised Artisan on the transaction while Citigroup Inc. was working with Prenetics.

(Updates with quotes from the CEO of Prenetics in the fourth, fifth, eighth, and ninth paragraphs, and details in the sixth.)

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