A Lucid Air with its limited-edition metallic paint-job called “eureka gold” glints, parked outside of the Nasdaq. The luxury car, a part of the electric carmaker’s Dream lineup, is evocative of the path it took to public markets via blank-check.
Newark, California-based Lucid Group’s debut listing on Monday comes after it completed a reverse-merger with financier Michael Klein’s special purpose acquisition company Churchill Capital Corp. IV. The stock, now trading under the symbol LCID, received a warm reception. Shares closed 11% higher at $26.83 on Monday.
Lucid Chief Executive Officer Peter Rawlinson said that the company remains on track to hit key milestones, producing 577 vehicles this year and as many as 20,000 next year. As disruptive as the global pandemic was on automakers and their suppliers, Lucid included, the company built a factory in Casa Grande, Arizona from the ground up in less than 12 months.
“Execution is everything now and I tell my team that every day,” Rawlinson said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. “We haven’t achieved a thing as a company until we have delivered our car to satisfied customers.”
Hurdles remain. A number of shareholder lawsuits have been brought against Lucid and its acquirer Churchill Capital in recent weeks. Rawlinson says Lucid did everything “by the book” and expects the company to “prevail.”
When Lucid’s deal with Churchill was first announced in February, it was the largest proposed SPAC transaction at that time, referred to by many on Wall Street as “peak SPAC” and drew Tesla comparisons. Yet, for all of the institutional support the deal appears to have, the company’s fate will depend on the loyalty of retail shareholders, many of whom are new to investing and trading on apps.
“Retail investors are connected and act in blocks. People talking about Lucid on WallStreetBets, Reddit and StockTwits will have the power of a massive institutional investor,” said Matt Tuttle, chief of the Greenwich, Connecticut-based namesake shop that issues thematic and actively-managed ETFs.
Having a base of novice investors who might have picked up their shares on platforms such as Robinhood proved to be a teachable moment last week when the Churchill SPAC struggled to secure enough shareholders to meet a voting deadline.
Last week’s struggles were not on display Monday. Instead the company was offering rides in its Dream car parked in front of the Nasdaq near Times Square.