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Peter Thiel-Backed Startup Luminar to Go Public in $3.4 Billion Merger

  • Auto tech startup follows Velodyne, Nikola in blank-check boom
  • Gores Metropoulos SPAC to own about 11% of laser sensor maker
Austin Russell demonstrates imaging created by a lidar in Portola Valley, California, U.S.

Austin Russell demonstrates imaging created by a lidar in Portola Valley, California, U.S.

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
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Driverless car startup Luminar Technologies Inc., backed by tech billionaire Peter Thiel, is going public via a $3.4 billion merger with blank-check company Gores Metropoulos Inc., bolstering efforts to get its laser sensors onto the production lines of global automakers.

Investors in Gores Metropoulos cheered the deal, sending the entity’s shares up as much as 10% to $11.60 apiece, the biggest jump since March 2019. The stock traded at $11.49 at 9:33 a.m. in New York, giving the company a market value of $573 million.