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One Last Spin-Ford Wrinkle

Morning Markets: One more facet in the Ford-Spin saga.

News that Ford would buy Spin, a small American scooter company made a splash. That scooter-war veterans Bird and Lime had managed to acquire another, larger rival mattered for the young unicorns. For Ford, the move was yet another acquisition, and move, into the broader mobility space.

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The incumbent transit company didn’t merely generate good headlines when it said it was going to work on non-car mobility projects. The Spin deal, of course, comes several years after Ford bought local commuting service Chariot, and, as Crunchbase News reported the other day, the automotive giant has never been more startup-hungry than it is today.

But on the Spin side of things, clarity was harder to find. Reports on the value of the deal were all over the map, from $40 million to $80 to $90 million, and above.

Even more, Fortune reported that the company’s prior, hoped-for token offering hadn’t gone off. That coupled with the interval since the firm’s last round of external capital, and it looked like Spin had run low on cash and found itself a home and an exit for its shareholders.

Maybe not. According to Axios’s Dan Primack, the company had another option:

“[W]e’ve learned from multiple sources that the deal came after Spin had a signed Series B term sheet in hand, for $20 million on a $65 million pre-money valuation, led by New York’s Rosecliff Ventures.”

That actually makes sense? If Bird and Lime are worth billions, surely Spin, with its access to the San Francisco market, had value. And, given the amount of money sloshing around Silicon Valley today, it could have found some to put into its own pockets.

Perhaps Ford promised backing and help to Spin that it couldn’t have hoped to match on its own? And $20 million would have only gone so far. This old chart (source) shows how much Bird and Lime have grown after raising hundreds of millions apiece:

Mentally stack that against Spin’s $20 million Series B. The Ford option makes sense.

Top Image Credit: Li-Anne Dias.