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SoFi to go public at $8.65bn valuation through SPAC merger

It's expected some $2.4bn will be heading SoFi’s way as part of the deal with Chamath Palihapitiya's special purpose acquisition company.

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Anthony Noto/Flickr/TechCrunch.

US alternative lender SoFi has agreed to go public as part of a multi-billion dollar deal with venture capital investor Chamath Palihapitiya.

The plan will value SoFi at $8.65bn and will see the organisation merge with one of Palihapitiya’s listed special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs).

Palihapitiya was an early Facebook employee-turned-VC who has championed the use of SPACs to raise capital in public markets and then use that cash to acquire private startups as an alternative to a traditional IPO.

It’s expected that some $2.4bn will be heading SoFi’s way under the arrangement, a large chunk of which will be used to pay down debt on SoFi’s $1.2bn takeover of payments giant Galileo last year.

“Our goal is to build a one-stop financial platform and our diversified products can help us navigate both a high interest and low-interest environment,” SoFi’s CEO Anthony Noto told Reuters in an exclusive interview revealing the deal.

According to Noto, SoFi expects its adjusted net revenue to jump 60 per cent in 2021, generating about $1bn.

SoFi started as a student lender, but has grown into offering all kinds of lending products including mortgages and personal loans.

Recently it’s expanded into new areas like SoFi Invest, an investment platform, SoFi-branded exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and SoFi Money, a digital banking arm complete with checking and savings accounts.

Last year SoFi partnered with Samsung to help launch Samsung Money, a “higher interest” e-money account with cashback perks for shopping in certain stores.

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