Vinfast—controlled by Vietnam’s richest man Pham Nhat Vuong’s Vingroup—has agreed to merge with casino mogul Lawrence Ho’s Black Spade Acquisition Co. in a deal that values the electric vehicle maker at about $23 billion.
The deal with Black Spade, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), is expected to be completed in the second half of this year. It paves the way for the U.S. listing of Vinfast, which has been seeking to launch an IPO in the U.S. for the past two years to help bankroll its global expansion.
“Vinfast has already demonstrated the ability to quickly reach international markets,” Thuy Le, global CEO of Vinfast, said in a statement. “The partnership with Black Spade and listing of Vinfast in the U.S. represents the perfect capital raising avenue for our future global ambitions.”
Vinfast, which plans to build a factory in North Carolina, started shipping its vehicles to the U.S. in November to directly challenge EV giant Tesla in its home market. Shipments to Canada and Europe are expected later this year.
Besides car manufacturing, Vinfast’s controlling shareholder Vuong has interests in real estate, retail, consumer electronics and healthcare through Vingroup, Vietnam’s largest conglomerate by market value. He is the country’s richest person with a net worth of $4.2 billion, according to the Forbes real-time ranking of billionaires.
Vuong and Vingroup recently pledged to inject an additional $2.5 billion in fresh capital into Vinfast to help accelerate the electric vehicle maker’s global expansion.
“Vinfast is very well positioned to take advantage of the EV lifestyle trend and we are very excited about the future potential growth of Vinfast in Vietnam and globally,” Dennis Tam, chairman and co-CEO of Black Spade said.
Black Spade—which raised $169 million from its IPO in the U.S. in 2021— sponsored by Black Spade Capital, an investment company backed by Lawrence Ho, son of the late Macau gaming legend Stanley Ho and chairman of casino operator Melco International.