Local Bounti, an indoor agriculture company, has agreed to go public via a merger with Leo Holdings III Corp, a blank check company backed by Lion Capital. The transaction puts the combined company at a valuation of $1.1 billion. When the deal closes, the combined company will remain listed on the New York Stock Exchange and trade under the ticker symbol “LOCL.”
HAMILTON, Mont.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Breakthrough U.S. indoor agriculture company Local Bounti Corporation (Local Bounti) has agreed to go public through a merger with Leo Holdings III Corp. (Leo or Leo Holdings) (NYSE: LIII), a publicly-traded special purpose acquisition company, pursuant to a definitive business combination agreement. The transaction values the combined company at an equity value of $1.1 billion (assuming no redemptions) and upon closing of the transaction, the combined company is expected to remain listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “LOCL”.
Strategic partners include food and agriculture industry giant Cargill and Sarath Ratanavadi, CEO of Gulf Energy Development Public Company Limited − Thailand’s largest private energy and infrastructure company and one of the world’s leaders in sustainable energy − which are investing in the combined company through a private investment in public equity (PIPE) arrangement. Cargill is also expected to provide $200 million in debt financing to accelerate Local Bounti’s expansion plans. Local Bounti plans to use the capital to build local strategically-located indoor farming facilities across the Western U.S. to provide fresh, superior-tasting, long-lasting and sustainably-grown produce with minimal carbon footprint.
Local Bounti Investment Highlights
Superior unit economics, with high yield and low-cost operations, enabled by unique hybrid facility configuration that addresses the challenges of conventional greenhouse and vertical farming
Producing leafy greens today at initial facility with pipeline to grow to eight facilities and the company expects to have over 30 SKUs by the end of 2025, which extends Local Bounti’s penetration, beginning in the largely untapped Western U.S. market
Superior brand and product that is local and sustainable across a growing number of SKUs, currently in more than 400 retail stores, including Associated Food Stores and URM served retail banners such as Rosauers, Super 1 Foods and Yoke’s
Strong commitment to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) practices and standards, including an executive team member who is Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)-certified to ensure aggressively transparent reporting per GRI and Sustainability Accounting Standards Board
Best-in-class, established management team of seasoned veterans at scaling early-stage companies, with Fortune 500 and public company experience
“Today’s announcement takes Local Bounti to the next level in enabling local, sustainable production and delivery of fresh, delicious and nutritious produce, including in regions that traditionally don’t have access to local supply, starting in the Western U.S. and expanding globally,” said Local Bounti Co-Founder and Co-CEO Craig Hurlbert. Based on publicly available market research on CEA, Local Bounti believes the current Western U.S. market opportunity is approximately $10.6 billion, and estimates that the total U.S. market for vegetables and herbs will reach up to $30 billion by 2025.
“We look forward to leveraging our proven business model as we accelerate the building of cutting-edge local production facilities that feature our proprietary IP, referred to as Stack & Flow Technology™, and transforming conventional agriculture practices for the benefit of all our customers, no matter where in the world they’re located,” he said, adding that the company’s growth plans include adding seven new facilities and local leadership in different geographic regions, as well as global expansion of its proprietary technology.
An industry disruptor changing the way food is grown and re-imagining the Farm of the Future™, Local Bounti is a premier controlled environment agriculture (CEA) company redefining ESG standards for indoor agriculture. The company’s unique business model is based on building local facilities, operated by local teams, to deliver the freshest and highest quality produce to local communities while maintaining a limited carbon footprint. Using proprietary technology to grow leafy greens and herbs in a smart, indoor controlled environment − and with a cultivation process that uses 90 percent less water and land than conventional agriculture, free from herbicides or pesticides − Local Bounti delivers high-quality produce that not only has a longer shelf life, but is also superior in taste.
“Local Bounti is set to be a transformational force in the AgTech industry with its demonstrated concept and model in food production and distribution,” said Lyndon Lea, President and CEO of Leo. “Combining Local Bounti’s emphasis on innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, and technology-driven approach with the institutional knowledge of the Leo Holdings team, we are confident in the company’s ability to expand in both reach and consumer offerings.”
Leveraging its innovative proprietary modular and scalable building system, which is designed to easily and efficiently replicate the company’s sustainable indoor farm model, Local Bounti is more than doubling the size of its flagship facility in Hamilton, Montana, and plans to break ground on additional facilities in the Western U.S. before the end of this year.
To learn more about Local Bounti’s unique growing process, diversified product offerings and experienced leadership team, please visit localbounti.com.
As a result of the transaction with Leo, Local Bounti will receive up to $400 million in gross proceeds (assuming no redemptions), including $125 million from a fully committed PIPE anchored by existing investors and new investors, including Fidelity Management & Research Company LLC, BNP Paribas Asset Management Ecosystem Restoration Fund and Cargill.
The Boards of Directors of Local Bounti and Leo unanimously approved the transaction, and the transaction will require the approval of the stockholders of both Local Bounti and Leo and is subject to other customary closing conditions. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2021.
Additional information about the proposed transaction, including a copy of the merger agreement and investor presentation, will be provided in a Current Report on Form 8-K to be filed by Leo Holdings III with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and will be available at www.sec.gov. For materials and information, visit the investor section of www.leoholdings.com for Leo, which can be found HERE.
Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC, Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. and Nomura Securities International, Inc. served as placement agents on the PIPE and Debevoise & Plimpton LLP served as legal advisor to the placement agents. Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal advisor to Leo. Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC and Nomura Greentech served as financial advisors to Local Bounti and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP served as legal advisor to Local Bounti.
About Local Bounti
Local Bounti is a premier controlled environment agriculture (CEA) company redefining conversion efficiency and environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards for indoor agriculture. The company operates an advanced indoor growing facility in Hamilton, Montana, within a few hours’ drive of its retail and food service partners. Reaching retail shelves in record time post-harvest, Local Bounti produce is superior in taste and quality compared to traditional field-grown greens. The company’s USDA Harmonized Good Agricultural Practices (GAP Plus+) and non-genetically modified organisms (GMO) produce is sustainably grown using proprietary technology 365 days a year, free of pesticides and herbicides, and using 90 percent less land and water than conventional outdoor farming methods. With a mission to ‘bring our farm to your kitchen in the fewest food miles possible,’ Local Bounti is disrupting the cultivation and delivery of produce. The company is also committed to making meaningful connections and giving back to each of the communities it serves. To find out more, visit localbounti.com or follow the company on LinkedIn for the latest news and developments.
About Leo Holdings III Corp and Leo Holdings
Leo Holdings III Corp is a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) that seeks to invest in entrepreneurially driven growth companies that seek to disrupt existing industries or business models. The management team has extensive experience owning and operating businesses on a global scale through its private equity vehicle, Lion Capital. Leo Holdings’ management team has collaboratively worked together for over 20 years.
Leo Holdings III Corp is part of a special purpose acquisition company initiative, Leo Holdings, which is focused on investing in disruptive, innovative business models. The initiative seeks businesses positioned to thrive in the evolving digital information age where changing consumer behavior creates the opportunity for outsized returns. In 2020, Leo Holdings Corp entered into a business combination with DMS, a disruptive performance marketing business which delivers high-intent customers while de-risking client advertising spend. Leo Holdings Corp II (LHC) and Leo Holdings III Corp (LIII) are currently listed on the NYSE.
Leo Holdings was formed by the principals of Lion Capital, which is led by Founder and Managing Partner, Lyndon Lea. For more information, visit https://leoholdings.com/.