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Jay Powell Eases the Markets’ Inflation Fears

  • February 24, 2021

For more highlights, including videos of the sessions, visit our briefings for Day 1 and Day 2 of the event.

— The unlikely brokerage spokesman Michael Bolton (yes, that Michael Bolton), in a song urging traders to break up with their trading app and move to He doesn’t name it, but the crooner’s references to Reddit and payment for order flow make it pretty clear that Robinhood is the jilted lover in the tune.

Reinvent Technology Partners, the blank-check firm backed by Reid Hoffman, Mark Pincus and Michael Thompson, is acquiring the electric aircraft company Joby Aviation in a merger valued at $6.6 billion. The deal includes $835 million in additional investment from investors including the Baupost Group, BlackRock, Fidelity and Baillie Gifford.

Straight up. The deal is another in a string of SPACs to bet on what’s known as eVTOL, for “electric vertical takeoff and landing.” (Essentially, electric helicopters.) Joby says it is the first company of its kind to win “airworthiness approval” from the U.S. military. It has partnered with Toyota for production, and its recent acquisition of Uber Elevate gives it a head start in the “aerial ride-sharing industry,” it says.

Promises, promises. While Joby may bring in some revenue through its work with the Air Force, the real money could come after getting F.A.A. “type certification,” expected in 2023, which would pave the way for commercial service in the U.S. That means, like many SPACs, Joby will prove its nascent business model while under the scrutiny of public investors. “The project that we’ve taken on, whether for good or bad, is extraordinarily ambitious — and it’s going to take us decades,” said Joby’s founder, JoeBen Bevirt. “Over the long term, value will take care of itself.”

  • As part of the deal, the SPAC sponsors and Joby have agreed to a lockup agreement of up to five years for some shares, with a vesting period matching share performance. (Some shares won’t vest until Joby reaches a $30 billion market cap). “The economics are aligned much closer to venture capital,” said Mr. Hoffman, who co-founded LinkedIn.

In other SPAC news: The blank-check company backed by Kevin Hartz, the Eventbrite founder, is acquiring the 3-D printing software company Markforged in a deal valued at $2.1 billion.

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