Blue Nile to Become a Public Company Again
It is merging with a special purpose acquisition company called Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corporation II.
Blue Nile was publicly traded until its acquisition by Bain Capital Private Equity and Bow Street LLC in a $500 million deal that shareholders approved in February 2017.
The deal with SPAC Mudrick values Blue Nile at $683 million and puts the value of the combined companies at $873 million.
The transaction is expected to generate about $450 million of capital, including $50 million in new preferred equity provided by Mudrick and $80 million in PIPE (private investment in public equity) capital from existing Blue Nile backers Bain Capital Private Equity, Bow Street and Adama Partners, as well as from Mudrick, the company said.
Current Blue Nile CEO Sean Kell and his current management team will continue to lead the retailer post-acquisition. Kell has been at the helm since August 2019.
The company will still be called Blue Nile and is expected to trade on NASDAQ.
“Over the past two and a half years we have successfully transformed and elevated Blue Nile as a thriving fine jewelry and lifestyle brand, and we are excited about the growth opportunities that lie ahead,” Kell said.
“We have only scratched the surface of an estimated $320 billion global fine jewelry market that has been slow to move online and remains fragmented. As we look to execute our growth strategy, now is the right time to become a public company.”
The boards of directors of Blue Nile and Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corporation II have approved the transaction.
It still requires the approval of Mudrick stockholders and is subject to other customary closing conditions.
The deal is expected to close early in the fourth quarter of 2022.
Blue Nile ranked No. 10 among North America’s top jewelry sellers in National Jeweler’s 2022 State of the Majors report, with an estimated $741 million in jewelry sales.
The company launched as an online-only retailer in 1999 but has opened a number of “asset light” showrooms over the years—physical locations with a small amount of inventory for customers to try on, though they still place their orders online.
It currently has 18 physical locations, with new stores coming soon at Lenox Square mall in Atlanta and at the Mall of America, according to its website.
It plans to have opened approximately 40 showrooms by the end of 2023.
The current agreement, originally set to expire in 2020, will now go through June 2023.
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