Amazon's top third-party seller in the U.S. plans to go public via SPAC

Amazons top third-party seller in the U.S. plans to go public via SPAC

September 13, 2021: -The top U.S. seller on Amazon’s sprawling marketplace is getting in on the SPAC boom. On Thursday, Packable, the parent company of Pharmapacks, said that it plans to the public through a merger with Highland Transcend Partners I Corp., a particular purpose acquisition company.

The deal values the combined company at $1.55 billion. Pharmapacks started as a brick-and-mortar pharmacy business in 2010 and has since grown to become the No. 1 Amazon seller in the U.S., based on the number of consumer reviews, according to research firm Marketplace Pulse. The company offers a range of health, personal care, and beauty products across few online marketplaces.

The SPAC is the latest sign that booming third-party marketplace lures investors of Amazon, seeing another opportunity to make money on the shoulders of the largest e-commerce site. The marketplace is offering products from millions of sellers and now accounts for more than half of Amazon’s overall retail sales.

Over the previous year, investors have been pouring money into aggregators like Thrasio and Perch, snapping up promising products and storefronts intending to use their data and operational expertise to turbocharge sales.

In November, Pharmapacks raised more than $250 million from private equity firm Carlyle Group in a deal valuing the company at about $1.1 billion.

Packable is increasing $180 million from investors, which include Fidelity and Lugard Road Capital, as part of the SPAC. Proceeds will help Packable expand internationally, and across multiple online marketplaces, the company said.

A SPAC is a blank-check company that also introduces money to buy a private entity through a reverse merger and take it public with the help of financing from additional investors. SPAC is currently dealing has become an increasingly popular route to go public over the past year.

In addition to Amazon, Pharmapacks said it also offers its products on Walmart, eBay, Kroger, Target, and Facebook, along with several direct-to-consumer sites.

Packable said in an investor presentation that revenue this year will increase 22% to $456 million, and it’s forecasting average annual growth of 38% through 2024 when sales should top $1.3 billion. One advantage of going public through a SPAC instead of a traditional IPO is that companies can issue forward-looking projections.

Still, Pharmapacks isn’t expecting to generate an operating profit until 2024 as it suspends roughly half its revenue on selling and distribution and another 20% on warehousing and administrative costs, based on 2021 estimates.

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