Early Investors in EV Maker Canoo Are Cashing Out

It seems like only yesterday that electric vehicle (EV) maker Canoo Holdings Ltd. (NASDAQ: GOEV) debuted on the public markets following a reverse merger with blank-check company Hennessy Capital. The transaction was completed on December 22 and shares traded at around $25 briefly.

On Wednesday, the stock closed at $19.00, after gaining more than 13% on the day following reports that Canoo had been holding discussions with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) related to a possible electric Apple Car. That share price jump was somewhat smaller than the near-20% jump in Hyundai shares following reports last week that the Korean carmaker was a front-runner to build the Apple EV. Hyundai and Canoo already have agreed to develop an EV platform.

Also on Wednesday, Canoo filed a prospectus with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to issue up to 24.4 million shares of common stock. The shares being registered include 1.84 million warrants held by BlackRock that were issued at the time of Canoo’s IPO and 22.51 million shares of common stock to redeem the warrants held by Hennessy.

But wait, there’s more. The prospectus also includes up to 186.6 million shares, including 11.4 million shares that may be issued if Canoo meets certain earnout targets. All the shares are held by current shareholders and the company “will not receive any proceeds” from the sale of these 186.6 million shares. At Wednesday’s closing price, these shares were valued at just over $3.5 billion.

Canoo said it will receive approximately $280.1 million from the exercise of the warrants, “assuming the exercise in full of all of the Warrants for cash.” When the reverse merger with Hennessy was announced last summer, Canoo was expected to receive a total of $600 million at the time of the transaction, $300 million from Hennessy and $300 million from a private investment in public equity (PIPE) deal.

Over the past five trading sessions, Apple stock added about 3.4% to its share price. Canoo has added more than 35%, including Wednesday’s jump. The tail doesn’t wag the dog, at least in this case.

Does that indicate that an EV that is likely a minimum of five years in the future doesn’t matter to Apple investors? Probably not, but it might mean that investors are skeptical of the reports that Apple is considering building its own EV at all. If that’s the case, why bid up shares of Canoo and Hyundai?

In Canoo’s case, the stock is cheap at around $19 a share. Hyundai Motor’s stock trades at around $228 in Seoul and closed at $56.30 in U.S. over-the-counter trading on Wednesday. Prior to last week’s report that Hyundai might be in line to build an Apple Car, shares traded at around $42.00 in OTC trading, before hitting a high of $71 on Monday.

Canoo’s early investors are cashing out now that the company’s market cap has reached nearly $4.5 billion, about double its pre-IPO valuation. Whether new investors in Canoo will reap similar rewards down the road remains to be seen.

Shares traded down more than 3% at $18,38 early Thursday. Canoo’s post-IPO range is $9.21 to $24.90, and the single analyst price target on the stock is $30.00.

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