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Howard Lutnick's SPAC To Take Smart Glass Company View Public At $1.6B Valuation

A SoftBank-backed technology company that makes smart windows for commercial buildings is going public as part of a special purpose acquisition company merger.

The Greystar-developed EXO Apartments in Reston, Va.

Silicon Valley-based View announced Monday it entered into a merger agreement with a Cantor Fitzgerald-sponsored SPAC in a deal that values View at $1.6B.

The combined company, View Inc., will be publicly listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange. The deal, which would inject $800M into View, is expected to close in Q1. 

The deal has been unanimously approved by View's board and by the board of the SPAC, a formed blank check company called CF Finance Acquisition Corp. II that Cantor Fitzgerald formed this summer. The SPAC would provide $500M to the combined company. 

The financial world has increasingly used SPACs as a way to take companies public, and the strategy has been gaining steam in commercial real estate this year. 

View Inc. will continue to be led by View Chairman and CEO Rao Mulpuri and Chief Financial Officer Vidul Prakash. The company, founded in 2007, is based in Milpitas, California. 

View creates smart windows that tint the glass to optimize natural light, control heat and glare, and reduce energy consumption. Its windows have been installed in office buildings, multifamily properties, airports, educational buildings and health care facilities. 

"Climate change and human health are two of the most important challenges and opportunities of our time, and View is well-positioned to use technology to drive change across the real estate industry," Mulpuri said in a release. 

In 2018, View received a $1.1B investment from SoftBank's Vision Fund, the $100B venture capital vehicle partially backed by Saudi Arabian capital that invested in tech giants like WeWork and Uber.

The SoftBank investment came after View had already brought in $800M in venture capital. Before SoftBank invested more than $1B, View had been valued at $1.2B, the Silicon Valley Business Journal reported at the time.

In an investor presentation filed to the Securities and Exchange Commission Monday, View disclosed that it lost $201.7M through Sept. 30 this year after losses of $289.9M and $441.5M in 2019 and 2018, respectively. It has already spent $400M to date building out its 1.3M SF glass factory in Mississippi, it said.

In the presentation, View estimates it will earn about $31M in revenue this year — after $24.3M in revenue in all of 2019 — but projects that to more than double in 2021 to $75M and reach nearly $1B by 2024. It projects to become profitable by 2023.

Goldman Sachs & Co. is acting as View's financial adviser, and its legal adviser is Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. Cantor Fitzgerald is the financial adviser for CF Acquisition Corp. II, and its legal advisers are Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP and Ellenoff Grossman & Schole LLP. 

Cantor Fitzgerald is led by Howard Lutnick, also the chairman of Newmark Group, the parent company of brokerage Newmark. 

"We are excited to be working with Rao and the team at View to not only help deliver the capital needed to further build out View's capacity, but also leverage our real estate platforms to create awareness, scale and drive change across the real estate industry," Lutnick said.