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April 20, 2021updated 11 May 2021 5:47pm

Vertical farmer Infarm ‘exploring public listing via SPAC deal’

By Simon Harvey

Vertical-farming business Infarm in Germany is reported to have hired US-based investment bank Goldman Sachs to explore a potential public listing some eight years after the company was created.

Berlin-headquartered Infarm, which was founded in 2013 by Osnat Michaeli and Erez and Guy Galonska, is reportedly seeking a merger with a special purpose acquisition company or SPAC as a route to an IPO, according to Reuters, quoting unnamed sources.

Those same sources have said a listing could result in a valuation of around US$1bn, although the geographical location for an IPO was not mentioned by Reuters.

An Infarm spokesperson told just-food “we don’t comment on rumours and market speculation”, while Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

Using hydroponic technology, Infarm grows a range of fresh herbs and greens such as kale, lettuce, rocket and pak choi, with its indoor farms now located in major retailers in select European markets, the US and Canada, and Japan. The company announced in March it planned to expand its offering into chillies, mushrooms and tomatoes.

In the UK, Infarm has secured deals with retailer Marks and Spencer and Whole Foods Market, and in the US with Kroger, along with in Canada, Sobeys, Safeway and Thrifty Foods owned by the grocer Empire. It has a presence in Japan via the Summit Store supermarket chain owned by a subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo Corp.

Infarm has raised more than US$400m since its founding, including the most recent capital injection of $100m, a top up to a $170m Series C round secured last September.

Its investor list is extensive and includes London-based venture-capital funds Atomico and Balderton Capital, Astanor Ventures in Brussels, Berlin-based venture-capital fund Cherry Ventures and California-based TriplePoint Capital.

Others include private-equity firm Mons Investments and venture-capital firm LocalGlobe, both in London, and investment manager Quadia in Switzerland.

LGT Lightstone, which is part of LGT Group, a private banking and asset management group controlled by the Liechtenstein royal family, has also invested in Infarm, along with venture-capital fund Hanaco in Israel and German family-owned private-equity firm Haniel.

Last month, US vertical-farming business AeroFarms announced it is to list on the stock market through a deal with Spring Valley Acquisition Corp., a SPAC listed on the Nasdaq exchange.

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