California-based Mullen Technologies could be one step closer to manufacturing its electric sports car on the West Plains with a recently announced merger that, if approved, would allow the company to become a publicly traded company.
Mullen Technologies, a privately held company, signed a letter of intent Monday to merge with Miami-based Net Element, an electronic payment technology company. The reverse merger, a process in which a privately held company takes control of a publicly traded company, would allow Mullen Technologies to acquire Net Element and bypass what can be a somewhat lengthy process of going public on its own. Mullen’s stakeholders would receive a majority of stock in the newly formed public company.
The merger is anticipated to occur in the third quarter, pending stockholder and board approval. Net Element’s current management team and board would resign except for CEO Oleg Firer, who will become a board member of Mullen Technologies, according to a company news release.
“We believe the timing of this merger is ideal for Mullen Technologies,” CEO David Micherysaid in a statement. “It comes on the preparation of our launch of the Dragonfly K50, which will be available in (the second quarter) of 2021 and through our retail network in California and Arizona and the development of a new EV model, the MX-05 Sport Utility Vehicle, that we expect the start of production next year.”
If Mullen Technologies becomes a publicly traded company, it would accelerate development of its battery technology, Michery said.
The high-performance Dragonfly K50 – formerly named the Qiantu K50 – is powered by a lithium-ion battery. It is capable of reaching 60 mph in less than 4.2 seconds and has a range of 250 miles. It is launching under a partnership with China-based Qiantu Motor.
Mullen signed a letter of intent last year with S3R3 Solutions – formerly the West Plains Public Development Authority – that calls for the agency to build and lease 1.3 million square feet of assembly and manufacturing space for the company’s Dragonfly K50 electric sports car.
The manufacturing and assembly facility for the Dragonfly K50 electric car would create 55 jobs at initial startup and is projected to add 863 jobs by 2026, according to officials. Mullen Technologies, through Mullen Energy, also expressed interest in bringing in research and development for lithium-ion batteries, which would create up to 3,000 jobs.
S3R3 Solutions would build the manufacturing and assembly facility, and provide rail access. The project would be financed through a revenue bond that would be paid back through the lease agreement with Mullen Technologies.
In the letter of intent, which expired in March, Mullen agreed to raise an equity investment of $50 million before entering a lease agreement with S3R3 Solutions.
S3R3 Solutions is planning to update the letter of intent with Mullen Technologies, which believes it will be able to raise funding necessary to move the project forward, said Todd Coleman, executive director of S3R3 Solutions.
Mullen is also working with Raymond James, an investment banking company, to obtain funding for the project. The California company remains interested in building its electric car manufacturing facility in an Opportunity Zone on the West Plains, Coleman said.
Mullen Technologies did not respond to a request for comment about the project’s status or timeline.
The company has several subsidiaries, including Mullen Auto Sales, a series of pre-owned auto dealerships in California and Arizona; CarHub, a digital platform for buying and selling cars; Mullen Energy, a division that focuses on advancing battery technology; and Mullen Finance Corp., which offers vehicle leases and loans. Mullen’s subsidiary, Smart 8 Energy, began sourcing ventilators, COVID-19 antibody and virus test kits and personal protective equipment during the coronavirus pandemic.
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