A month after Elon Musk unsuccessfully sought an investment from Saudi Arabia for Tesla Inc., another electric vehicle manufacturer has secured a $1 billion infusion from the oil-rich country.
Lucid Motors Inc., a Newark, California-based company that has a strategic partnership with South Korea’s Samsung SDI Co. and LG Chem Ltd., announced Monday that it had secured a $1 billion investment from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.
O’Melveny & Myers has taken the lead for Lucid Motors on the deal, which is with a special purpose vehicle owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia. Lucid Motors will use capital from the investment to complete the development and testing of its first electric car, the Lucid Air, by 2020.
Corporate partners Nima Amini in Hong Kong, Sung Pak in New York and Andrew Dolak in Newport Beach, California, are leading an O’Melveny & Myers team advising the 11-year-old Lucid Motors, which is seeking to compete with Palo Alto, California-based Tesla in the luxury vehicle market. Other O’Melveny & Myers lawyers working on the deal include counsel Andrew Sorkin in Washington, D.C., and associates Amanda Bradley and Nolan Shaw in San Francisco and Shanghai, respectively.
Amini, who joined O’Melveny & Myers more than a decade ago after working as an associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, said he was engaged by Lucid Motors in early 2016 when the company was looking for a partner to help fund development of Lucid Air. The latter had generated interest from investors in China, Amini said, and he and other O’Melveny & Myers lawyers subsequently guided Lucid Motors through a series of transactions that helped keep it afloat until it was able to secure funding this week from PIF.
Reuters reported in August that the Riyadh-based PIF was considering an investment in Lucid Motors even as it was being courted to invest in Tesla by its CEO Musk, who tweeted on Aug. 7 that he had “funding secured” to take the company private at $420 per share.
Musk cited that potential Saudi investment as justification for his going-private plan, although Saudi officials did not comment on the possibility. After a series of questions from Tesla investors and interest from securities regulators, Musk abandoned his effort to take the company private. (Musk’s tweets are now the subject of securities litigation in California.)
Tesla’s stock dipped by as much as 2 percent in early trading on news of PIF’s investment in Lucid Motors. The Financial Times has reported that the Saudi sovereign wealth fund has bought had least five percent of Tesla. Prior to the investment from PIF, Lucid Motors, founded in 2007 under its former name Atieva, had raised a total of $131 million in funding, according to Crunchbase.com.
Under the agreement announced Monday, Lucid Motors said it plans to use the funding from PIF to finish construction and begin production of the Lucid Air, construct a factory in Casa Grande, Arizona, and start the global roll out of its retail strategy in North America.
Earlier this year, the VLP Law Group advised on a relocation of Lucid Motors’ headquarters from Menlo Park, California, to the Pacific Research Center in Newark. PIF’s investment in the company also comes after Chinese electric vehicle startup NIO Inc. raised roughly $1 billion through an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange.
Skadden, Chinese firm Han Kuo Law Offices and offshore outfit Maples and Calder took the lead for Shanghai-based NIO on that listing, which securities filings show yielded at least $2.58 million in legal fees and expenses for the company’s outside lawyers. Latham & Watkins and China’s Grandall Law Firm represented underwriters on the float by NIO.
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius advised PIF on its investment in Lucid Motors. On Monday, the Saudi fund also announced that it had undertaken its first debut debt raising, an $11 billion syndicated loan from several global banks as PIF tries to expand its investment portfolio. PIF did not disclose, however, whether that money would play a part in its Lucid Motors investment.