Used-car retailer CarLotz shares start trading after reverse merger with SPAC

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CarLotz began trading shares Friday on the Nasdaq exchange under the “LOTZ” ticker symbol, becoming the latest online used-vehicle company to go public.

CarLotz, which focuses on used-vehicle consignment, announced last year it would become a publicly traded company by completing a reverse merger with Acamar Partners Acquisition Corp., a special-purpose acquisition company. It’s the same method Shift Technologies used to go public last October.

Shares in the company fell 4.1 percent to $11.80 in early trading on Wall Street.

CarLotz CEO Michael Bor told Automotive News last week that going public should help raise the company’s profile and visibility.

“I think it’s going to do great things for our ability to source vehicles,” he said. “I’m also really excited about dramatically enhancing the brand awareness that we have.”

Bor added that the company had historically been “overly efficient” with its marketing spend. “Still today, even in markets where we’ve been operating, people have not heard of us.”

CarLotz is based in Richmond, Va., and has eight hub locations in Virginia, North Carolina, Texas, Florida and Illinois. The company plans to expand with three to four additional hubs per quarter going forward: Locations in Seattle and Orlando are set to open next month.

Bor, a former investment banker, has said CarLotz should be seen less as a merchant that buys low and sells high and more as a service that streamlines the used-vehicle selling process. While competitors deal with auctions, wholesalers, buyers and other parties, CarLotz seeks to collapse everything into a unified platform.

The company sells retail vehicles, but the bulk of its business — and the fastest-growing part — is sales it brokers on behalf of corporate partners such as fleet management companies, leasing companies, banks, credit unions, dealers, automakers and others.

Still, the company has friendly relationships with wholesale auction companies, Bor has said, and KAR Global, the parent company of auction giant ADESA, is a minority shareholder in CarLotz.

CarLotz’s reverse merger was funded by a combination of $311 million cash-in-trust from Acamar Partners and $125 million of private investment in public equity proceeds.

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