HomeToGo set to go public via $1.2bn SPAC

Germany: Berlin-based vacation rental distribution channel HomeToGo has announced that it has signed a non-binding letter of intent to go public via a merger with blank cheque company, or special purpose acquisition company [SPAC], Lakestar SPAC I, owned by venture capital firm Lakestar. 

In a joint statement, the companies said that they would “continue to be in mutually exclusive negotiations with the aim of entering into a binding business combination agreement in due course”.

It is believed that the proposed transaction would value HomeToGo at around $1.2 billion [€1 billion] but the negotiations are still taking place.

Should the transaction go through, it is claimed that HomeToGo co-founders, Patrick Andrae [also CEO] and Wolfgang Heigl, would remain in their current positions.

HomeToGo’s metasearch engine helps users to search and compare listings according to their preferred locations, travel dates, budget, and amenities and book their holidays, enabling travellers to book and plan their vacations on one single website.

The company recently published a white paper with short-term rental data and analytics provider, AirDNA, on the growing trend of ‘revenge travel’, in which it analysed traveller sentiment and plans for Summer 2021 and beyond in the USA.

The report highlighted the continuing popularity of domestic, rural destinations, with nine out of ten travellers searching for rural US getaways this year and 63 per cent of guests surveyed saying that a ‘quiet getaway’ was their preferred next vacation spot. HomeToGo also disclosed that 46 per cent of its summer bookings in the USA in April were lasting seven days or longer – an eight per cent increase on the previous year.

HomeToGo joins a growing number of companies rushing to join the SPAC game, after lodging company Sonder announced its merger in April, while private travel club Inspirato is said to be in talks over a potential agreement. It was also revealed that Airbnb rejected the opportunity to merge with a SPAC owned by billionaire investor Bill Ackman when approached before the company went public in December.

SPAC are seen by some people as a more time-efficient route to the public markets as they can sell stocks on exchanges before having up to 36 months to find other companies with which to merge.

In February, Lakestar’s SPAC raised a reported $335 million [€275 million] in an IPO with a view to merging with a late-stage European tech firm.

HomeToGo’s last round of funding came in December 2018, when it raised $150 million and acquired its largest competitor in the United States, Tripping.com. According to Crunchbase, the company has raised $176.7 million to date since its funding seven years ago

HomeToGo has also announced the acquisition of travel planning startup Mapify for an undisclosed amount, another company in which Lakestar had previously invested.