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Rivian skyrockets in 2021’s biggest IPO

A truck made by Rivian.
Rivian, maker of the electric Rivian R1T, looks to make a dent in the EV market led by Tesla Inc.
(Paul Sancya / Associated Press)
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Rivian Automotive Inc. ended its first day as a public company valued at almost $88 billion, more than tripling its last private valuation after investors piled into 2021’s biggest initial public offering.

That puts the electric-truck maker on par with General Motors Co. and makes it more valuable than Ford Motor Co., one of its top investors, as well as electric-vehicle rival Lucid Group Inc. On a fully diluted basis, including options and restricted stock units, the Irvine-based company is valued at about $98 billion.

That compares with Rivian’s valuation of $27.6 billion after a $2.65-billion round of funding in January, Bloomberg News previously reported.

Backed by deep-pocketed companies such as Amazon.com Inc. and Ford, Rivian sold 153 million shares Tuesday for $78 each after marketing 135 million for $72 to $74, a range it had earlier elevated from $57 to $62. The company’s almost $12-billion IPO is the biggest globally this year and the sixth-largest ever on a U.S. exchange, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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Rivian’s shares, which rose as much as 53% on Wednesday to briefly push the company’s market value to $104 billion, closed at $100.73, up 29% from the IPO price.

Rivian is hitting the public markets as it looks to make a dent in the EV market led by Tesla Inc., which has a market value of more than $1 trillion.

Founder and Chief Executive R.J. Scaringe said in a Bloomberg TV interview Wednesday that Rivian’s biggest challenge is the “health of the supply chain” as it ramps up production amid parts shortages.

The company’s valuation reflects its ability to scale quickly and its plan to build commercial vehicles, Scaringe said. That starts with 100,000 battery-electric delivery vans for Amazon, which Scaringe described as an “initial order.”

Rivian, the Irvine electric truck maker, is seen as a front-runner in the larger pool of startups seeking to catch up with Tesla Inc., the market incumbent.

In addition to consumer EVs, Tesla has also built out a strong and growing energy-storage business including solar, home and commercial energy storage. Scaringe indicated that Rivian is looking at expanding in similar lines of business.

“For us, it’s a question of how do we, as rapidly as possible, transition ourselves away from a fossil-fuel based economy?” Scaringe said. “And that of course has a huge focus on the transportation products. But it also includes energy products. And this is something that we will certainly get into as we really try to accelerate that.”

Rivian’s IPO was led by Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., with more than 20 banks listed on the cover page of its prospectus. Rivian shares are trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol RIVN.

Bloomberg writer Keith Naughton contributed to this report.


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