UPDATE: June 1, 2021: Northern Star's stockholders last week voted to approve its merger with Barkbox Inc. The deal is expected to close Tuesday, the company said in a press release.
The common stock and warrants of the merged company, renamed "The Original Bark Company," will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday.
Bark, known for its BarkBox and Super Chewer pet subscription boxes, has entered into an agreement to be acquired by Northern Star Acquisition Corp., a publicly-traded special purpose acquisition company.
Through the deal, which values Bark at $1.6 billion, the pet brand will make its public debut on the New York Stock Exchange with the new ticker symbol BARK, the company announced on Thursday.
- The deal is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2021, according to documents Northern Star Acquisition Corp. filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues, the gap between businesses suffering and those succeeding in the retail industry grows wider.
Consumers have altered what they spend their money on, as categories like home and pet have seen big gains since the spring. But consumers have also changed where they spend their money with e-commerce growing more popular as shoppers remain wary of physical stores. Combined, Bark — which offers subscription boxes shipped to consumers' doorsteps — may be an increasingly attractive option among pet owners.
The pet brand, founded in 2012, has grown to reach more than a million active subscribers every month and is available in major retail chains like Amazon, Target and Costco, according to the company. Bark is expected to generate some $365 million in revenues this year and reach a gross profit of $221 million.
Through the deal with Northern Star Acquisition Corp., the pet brand will be able to "accelerate our ability to scale the BARK platform worldwide, add joy to the millions of dogs and families who love our products through our monthly subscription service and grow our omni-channel distribution," Matt Meeker, founder and executive chairman of Bark, said in a statement.
The other Bark founders, Henrik Werdelin and Carly Strife, will continue in their current roles, leading design, content and product development, and leading strategic initiatives, respectively. CEO Manish Joneja, who joined the company in September from Amazon, will serve as the chief executive of the combined company.
The pet industry, which reached $96 billion in sales last year, according to the release, has continued to grow this year as consumers turned to pets for comfort while much of everyday life remains uncertain. The number of U.S. households with pets is projected to grow some 4% this year, according to data from Packaged Facts.
Chewy, which went public last year, has recorded some of its best results this year, with its active customers reaching 17.8 million in its most recent quarter, while its net sales increased 45% year over year to $1.8 billion. And Petco, earlier this month, filed an S-1 for an initial public offering, after going public twice before.
SPACs, though, have become increasingly popular in recent years, with their IPO fundraising hitting close to $80 billion this year, up from just $3.9 billion in 2015 and $503 million in 2010, according to SPACInsider.