Lithium refiner Stardust Power to go public via $490 million blank-check deal

(Reuters) – Stardust Power, a lithium refiner supplying the electric-vehicle industry, on Tuesday agreed to go public in the U.S. through a merger with a blank-check company in a deal valued at $490 million.

Once a niche metal used primarily in ceramics and pharmaceuticals, lithium is now one of the world’s most in-demand metals as traditional automakers including Stellantis and Ford embrace the EV technology.

The world’s largest lithium producers have said they remain bullish on long-term demand for the battery material, despite recent price drops led by fears that electric vehicle adoption is slowing.

Stardust Power said it is planning to construct a lithium refining facility located in Greater Tulsa, Oklahoma with the production capacity of 50,000 metric tonnes per year of American battery-grade lithium.

The special purpose acquisition (SPAC) deal with Global Partner Acquisition Corp II is expected to close in the first half of next year, following which Stardust Power will trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “SDST.”

SPACs, publicly listed vehicles raised with the intention of merging with a private company, were once Wall Street’s hottest ticket but have lost momentum as regulatory scrutiny, high interest rates and market volatility curb investor enthusiasm.

(Reporting by Manya Saini and Arunima Kumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)