Brief: Walmart robot provider Symbotic announces $5.5bn SoftBank SPAC

December 14, 2021

  • Symbotic, a US developer of automated fulfillment solutions for retailers and distributors, has agreed to merge with SoftBank-affiliated special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) SVF Investment Corp 3.
  • The Wilmington, Massachusetts-based company says the SPAC transaction will raise $725 million in gross proceeds, including $200 million from SoftBank Vision Fund II and a $205 million private investment in public equity (PIPE) deal involving investors such as US retail giant Walmart.
  • On completion of the merger — which is expected in H1 2022 — the company will trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol ‘SYM.’
  • The deal comes almost six months after SVF Investment Corp 3’s proposed acquisition of US location data startup Mapbox was reported to have fallen through.

Why it matters:

Symbotic claims to “have rebuilt the traditional warehouse” by equipping it with fleets of AI-powered robots that can move products to where they are needed and speed up supply chains.

The company’s robots — or ‘Symbots’ — move products at speeds up to 25 miles per hour “with 99.9999% accuracy” using end-of-arm tools and computer vision. Symbotic says its system “enhances storage density, increases available SKUs, reduces product damage, and improves throughput and speed to customers.”

The Symbotic platform is already used by a number of retailers and grocers including Walmart, Albertsons, and C&S Wholesale Grocers, serving over 1,400 stores across 16 US states and eight Canadian provinces. Symbotic said it expects to make $433 million revenue in FY 2022 – a year-on-year increase of 73%.

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