Oaktree, Ballmer Bet $315 Million on Aspiration Pre-Merger
(Bloomberg) -- Oaktree Capital Management LP and investment affiliates of billionaire Steve Ballmer have committed $315 million in additional financing to green fintech company Aspiration ahead of its merger with InterPrivate III Financial Partners Inc., a blank-check firm.
The financing includes $65 million, of which about $50 million is structured as mandatorily convertible preferred stock drawn by Aspiration that converts into equity at an equivalent price of $11 a share, InterPrivate’s Ahmed Fattouh said in an interview. It separately features $250 million in non-convertible perpetual preferred stock set to fund Wednesday, and which pays an 8% annual dividend and can be redeemed after nine years, said Aspiration Chief Executive Officer Andrei Cherny. The remaining $15 million is a private investment in public equity, or PIPE, to fund upon the deal’s completion.
“Given the current market environment, we are very pleased to have raised equity capital at these terms,” Fattouh said. “The capital infusion provides more certainty that Aspiration can execute on its growth plan.”
Los Angeles-based Aspiration, which counts actors Orlando Bloom and Leonardo DiCaprio among investors, in August agreed to merge with the InterPrivate vehicle, confirming an earlier Bloomberg News report. It said it had secured a $200 million PIPE, from investors including Bernard Arnault’s family office Financiere Agache, Doha Venture Capital, Serengeti Asset Management and Canadian rapper Drake.
Including fresh financing from Oaktree and Ballmer’s affiliates, the company is poised to have more than $700 million in proceeds assuming no redemptions upon the deal’s close, Fattouh said.
“As fighting climate change continues to become front and center for more people and businesses, Aspiration’s technology, brand and community of members make it one of the most significant new equities in the public markets,” Ballmer said in an emailed statement.
Aspiration has been bolstering its enterprise offerings as corporations and consumers accelerate their focus on sustainability, Cherny said. In November, it announced a partnership with subsidiaries of South Korea’s Hanwha Group, as well as a strategic partnership with Qatar Free Zones Authority and Doha Venture Capital. This month, Aspiration said it struck a multi-year partnership with Athletes Unlimited, a move which the two said may lead to the first U.S. carbon neutral professional sports league.
Aspiration in September became a founding partner in Intuit Dome, the arena that’s being built as a home for the Los Angeles Clippers, the basketball team that Ballmer owns
“Aspiration is a category creator at the intersection of the growing fintech and sustainability industries,” Brian Laibow, co-head of North America for Oaktree’s global opportunities strategy, said in an emailed statement. “We’re delighted to partner with the Aspiration team as they continue to scale their growth and impact.”
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.