Astra completes merger transaction with Craig McCaw’s Holicity to go public

Astra Rocket 3.2
Astra’s Rocket 3.2 sits on its Alaska launch pad before its liftoff in December 2020. (Astra Photo / John Kraus)

A California-based space venture called Astra says it’s completed its financial transaction with Holicity, a blank-check company that’s based in Kirkland, Wash., and headed by Seattle-area telecom pioneer Craig McCaw.

The business combination was approved today by Holicity’s shareholders, opening the way for Astra’s shares to be publicly traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market starting Thursday. The ticker symbol for Astra common stock will be ASTR, and the symbol ASTRW will be used for Astra warrants.

“Becoming a public company is an important milestone in our mission to improve life on Earth from space,” Chris Kemp, Astra’s founder, chairman and CEO, said in a news release. “All of us at Astra are humbled by the opportunity to have the support of public shareholders and are grateful to the many people who have contributed so much to help us realize our vision of a healthier and more connected planet.”

McCaw — a veteran of ventures ranging from McCaw Cellular to Nextel to Teledesic — is the chairman and CEO of Holicity, a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. The transaction, which values Astra at more than $2 billion, brings in about $500 million in cash proceeds that Astra will use to accelerate growth and develop its space services platform.

The terms of the transaction were announced in February. McCaw and Michael Lehman, Sun Microsystems’ former chief financial officer, will join Astra’s board of directors in connection with the business combination.

“I am excited to support Chris and his talented team as Astra begins the next chapter as a public company,” McCaw said.

Kemp praised McCaw and Lehman as “seasoned leaders who bring immense collective experience in public technology company operations that will be beneficial to Astra and its shareholders.”

Holicity’s share price ended today’s trading session at $12.35 and edged upward in after-hours trading.

Last December, Astra launched a test rocket into space for the first time from Alaska’s Pacific Spaceport Complex, narrowly missing orbital velocity. The five-year-old company says it has more than 50 launches under contract and plans to begin delivering payloads to low Earth orbit this summer. Its business plan foresees going to daily launches by 2025.

McCaw, meanwhile, has other ventures in mind: Soon after the Astra-Holicity deal was announced, McCaw founded yet another SPAC called Colicity, which has a $345 million war chest and is focused on technology, media and telecom investments.

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Space Astra space Craig mccaw Holicity Spacs