Biotech firm Ginkgo in talks with Harry Sloan-led SPAC for over $20 billion deal

(Reuters) – Biotech startup Ginkgo Bioworks is in talks to go public through a merger with a blank-check firm backed by former Hollywood executives Harry Sloan and Jeff Sagansky, in a deal valued at about $20 billion, a person familiar with the matter said.

The company is in exclusive talks with Soaring Eagle Acquisition Corp for a potential business combination and a deal could be announced as soon as this month, the source said on Friday.

Soaring Eagle declined to comment on the matter.

Boston-based Ginkgo is backed by Bill Gates’ private investment firm, Cascade Investment, and hedge fund Viking Global. It received a $1.1 billion loan from the U.S. government in November for COVID-19 testing and production of raw materials for therapies that may help address future pandemics.

Soaring Eagle, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), raised $1.7 billion through an initial public offering in February.

Sloan, a former chief executive officer of Metro Goldwyn Mayer, and Sagansky’s former SPACs took gaming firms DraftKings Inc and Skillz Inc public.

SPACs are shell companies that raise funds through an initial public offering to take a private company public through a merger at a later date.

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