The deal will enable the last mile electric scooter rental company to become publicly listed


Bird Rides offers last mile electric scooter rental services in more than 200 cities across the world. (Credit: CAPTAIN RAJU/Wikimedia Commons)

Bird Rides, a US-based electric vehicle (EV) scooter startup has agreed to merge with Switchback II, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), in a deal that values the former at around $2.3bn.

The deal will enable Bird Rides to become a publicly listed company under the new name Bird Global. The enlarged company, post-merger, is expected to trade on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

Founded in 2017, Bird Rides offers a fleet of shared electric scooters to riders in more than 200 cities across the world.

Bird Rides founder and CEO Travis VanderZanden said: “Since 2017, we have driven adoption of micromobility which has resulted in rapid growth. During this time, we have advanced our operating model, supported by proprietary technology and hardware, to scale our mission and reach more cities.

“This foundation has driven our strong unit economics and delivered our successful track record to date. As we look ahead, we intend to build upon our market leadership and grow our business, which currently only scratches the surface of the estimated $800 billion annual market opportunity for micromobility.”

Post-merger, existing shareholders of Bird Rides will own a stake of around 82% in the combined company. The EV scooter startup will gain up to $428m of cash in net proceeds, which will fund operations, growth initiatives, and will also be used for general corporate purposes.

Switchback II will contribute its cash-in-trust of $316m to the combined firm.

The deal is backed by private placement proceeds of $160m from Fidelity Management & Research and other investors.

Bird Rides will also get access to an asset financing facility of $40m with Apollo Investment and MidCap Financial Trust.

Switchback II co-Chief CEOs and directors Jim Mutrie and Scott McNeill said: “As a category creator for the shared micromobility space, Bird has capitalised on its first-mover advantage to address the significant market opportunity while also providing an efficient and eco-friendly transportation alternative.

“With its market leadership position, experienced and innovative leadership team, compelling current revenues and business model, along with identified levers for growth, Bird satisfies all the investment criteria we were seeking and we are pleased to announce the definitive agreement for this combination.”

The deal, which is subject to approval by Switchback II’s shareholders and other customary conditions, is anticipated to close in Q3 2021.