EV startup Lucid Motors risks SPAC deal collapse

The blank-check company seeking to buy electric-car startup Lucid Motors Inc. made a last-minute appeal for retail shareholders to vote for the deal amid signs that it’s struggling to win their approval.

Churchill Capital Corp. IV, the special purpose acquisition company started by investment banker Michael Klein, adjourned its Thursday shareholder meeting that was to determine the fate of the merger, pushing the decision back to the following day.

It also appealed again in a new statement for shareholders to sign off on the deal. Churchill’s shares fell as much as 4.8 percent before retracing more than half the loss.

“The company still needs additional votes to obtain approval for that proposal by a majority of its outstanding shares,” according to the statement. “As a result, the meeting has been adjourned to obtain the required votes.”

The two companies are trying to woo the very investors who pushed Churchill’s shares up more than 130 percent this year, including individual holders who are new to investing and who may not bother to vote their relatively small stakes.

Multiple notices have been sent to shareholders, with Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson reaching out in a video earlier this week, and the voting deadline was extended Thursday morning just hours before the meeting was set to take place.

Churchill also asked investors who were holders of record to vote even if they’ve already sold their shares.

In an investor update shortly after the meeting was adjourned, Klein addressed investors who may have picked up shares in Churchill via trading platforms such as Robinhood.

“We welcome all of the new shareholders,” Klein said. “However, we need you to participate in the election process. In particular, if you are participating from the new trading platforms, the new apps that may not necessarily be directing you clearly to a voting service, we need your vote,” Klein said.

He added that the process “literally takes one minute.”

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