Presto, a provider of restaurant labor productivity technologies, and Ventoux CCM Acquisition Corp, a blank check company backed by Ventoux Acquisition Holdings and an affiliate of Chardan Capital International, have agreed to merge. At the closing of the deal, the newly combined company will be renamed Presto Technologies and trade on the NASDAQ. The transaction puts the combined company at a valuation of about $1 billion.
REDWOOD CITY, Calif., November 10, 2021–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Presto, a leading provider of restaurant labor productivity technologies, and Ventoux CCM Acquisition Corp. (“Ventoux”) (NASDAQ: VTAQ), a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company, today announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement that will result in Presto becoming a publicly listed company. The transaction values the combined company (the “Company”) at an estimated pro forma equity value of approximately $1 billion. Upon closing, the Company will be renamed Presto Technologies, Inc. and expects to list its common stock on Nasdaq.
As restaurants reopen and guests are anxious to return, an acute labor shortage is preventing the industry from bouncing back. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, eating and drinking place employment remains 1.5 million below pre-pandemic levels. Operators are desperately trying to hire, but 72% of them rate recruitment and retention as their top challenge. The problem is likely to worsen, as 53% of existing restaurant workers are actively considering leaving their job. In this environment, it is critical for restaurants to adopt solutions that significantly improve labor productivity so that they can do more with less.
Presto is a market leader in restaurant labor productivity, overlaying next-generation digital solutions onto the physical world. Its enterprise-grade touch, vision, and voice technologies help hospitality businesses thrive while delighting guests. Presto’s solutions are designed to enable restaurants to do more with less by increasing their guest-to-staff ratios, improving speed and quality of service, identifying bottlenecks, and offering guests a superior experience. These solutions include:
· Voice: Guests and staff can place orders in a natural conversational style via automated speech recognition with over 94% accuracy even in noisy environments.
· Vision: Using just a few cameras, restaurants can measure throughput and order accuracy, identify issues, and implement real-time solutions.
· Touch: Custom designed for both drive-thru and dine-in applications, the same tablet can be deployed as a pay-at-table, staff handheld, kiosk, or drive-thru line buster—offering wide front-of-house flexibility.
Leveraging innovation to empower the hospitality industry is fundamental to Presto’s DNA. In 2008, Presto’s Founder & CEO Rajat Suri dropped out of his doctoral program at M.I.T. to found Presto. Its first product was a pay-at-table device that quickly became popular with both guests and restaurant operators. More than a decade later, Presto continues to bring innovative and secure next-generation technologies to the restaurant and hospitality industries on a customizable platform. The enterprise-grade platform has made the company one of the largest providers of restaurant technology, with over 250,000 systems shipped.
The launch of several new voice, vision, and touch solutions to optimize drive-thru performance and enable staff to serve more customers more quickly—critical components of a sound strategy for today’s labor-starved restaurant operators—has fueled Presto’s rapid growth over the past few years. Presto’s strategic relationships with important industry leaders such as Fiserv, Oracle, PayPal, and Visa provide valuable access to global markets and have helped the company scale rapidly. With Presto, restaurants across the world not only have access to today’s best technology; they also receive a continuous stream of innovation and a variety of complementary technologies to support their future needs.
Last year, as the pandemic impacted restaurants across the country, Presto made all of its solutions free for independent restaurants. To further its commitment to the community, Presto partnered with the COVID Tech Connect initiative. Volunteers from across the country came together to supply hospitals and senior care facilities with smart devices so that critically ill patients could communicate with loved ones during their last moments. The initiative received significant national media coverage and delivered 20,000 tablets to 2,000 healthcare facilities.
Accelerated adoption of the Presto platform in the recent past underscores the urgent need for staff-enhancing and productivity-increasing solutions across the hospitality industry. As Presto embarks on the next phase of its corporate journey, it continues to be driven by its core values: customer focus, commitment to innovation, and corporate responsibility.
The Company will continue to be led by Founder & CEO Rajat Suri and CFO Ashish Gupta. The expanded Board of Directors is expected to include industry veterans such as Kim Lopdrup, former CEO of Red Lobster, and Blythe McGarvie, Board Member of Apple Hospitality REIT, Sonoco, LKQ and Wawa. The Board of Directors will be chaired by longtime investor Krishna Gupta of REMUS Capital.
Key Transaction Terms
Pursuant to the business combination, Ventoux will acquire the Company through a reverse merger. The business combination values the Company at approximately $1.04 billion pro forma equity value, at $10.00 per share. The transaction will be funded by cash from the Ventoux trust account of approximately $172.5 million, assuming no redemptions by Ventoux’s stockholders, and $70 million of gross proceeds from the issuance of equity and convertible financings in the PIPE transaction. Following the transaction and after the payment of transaction expenses, the Company is expected to add over $223.3 million of cash to its balance sheet, assuming no redemptions. Assuming no redemptions of Ventoux’s shares, the current holders of the Company’s securities will hold approximately 77% of the issued and outstanding shares of common stock immediately following the close of the transaction.
The boards of directors of both the Company and Ventoux have unanimously approved the proposed business combination, which is expected to be completed in the first half of 2022, subject to, among other things, the approval by Ventoux’s stockholders, satisfaction of the conditions stated in the definitive agreement, including regulatory approvals, and other customary closing conditions, including a registration statement being declared effective by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”).
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 Ventoux with the SEC and available at www.sec.gov. Additional information about the proposed transaction will be described in Ventoux’s registration statement relating to the merger, which it will file with the SEC.
Jefferies LLC is acting as exclusive financial advisor and exclusive capital markets advisor to Presto, and White & Case LLP is acting as legal advisor to Presto. Chardan and William Blair & Company, L.L.C. are acting as financial advisors to Ventoux. Woolery & Co. PLLC and Dentons US LLP are acting as legal advisors to Ventoux. William Blair & Company, L.L.C., Truist Securities, Inc. and Chardan are acting as placement agents for the PIPE financing and as capital markets advisors, and Mayer Brown, LLP is acting as legal advisor to the placement agents.
Presto overlays next-gen digital solutions onto the physical world. Our enterprise-grade touch, vision, and voice technologies help hospitality businesses thrive while delighting guests. With over 250,000 systems shipped, we are one of the largest labor automation technology providers in the industry. Founded at M.I.T. in 2008, Presto is headquartered in Silicon Valley, Calif. with customers including many of the top 20 restaurant chains in the U.S.