Things are once again moving through the Colonial Pipeline, the vital artery no one had heard of until last week. (And by things, we mean, of course, one thing: fuel.) The same cannot be said of the paperwork- and bureaucratic-concern-choked SPAC pipeline, which remains well-and-truly bunged up: Just two new blank check companies have dribbled out this month—compared to 313 in the first four months of the year.

Given the backlog in new SPACs, you might expect the backlog in existing SPACs to ease up a bit, but no: While 94 found merger partners in the first quarter, just 27 had done so since. But things seem to be easing up a bit, and Masa Son—who’s already got 46 billion reasons to be quite pleased—couldn’t be happier for the future, thank you very much.

Better Holdco Inc., which operates a digital platform for mortgages and related services, plans to merge with Aurora Acquisition Corp., a SPAC sponsored by the investment firm Novator Capital, the companies said. The deal, reported Monday by The Wall Street Journal, values Better at roughly $6.9 billion pre-new money, up from $4 billion late last year.

SoftBank Group Corp., which recently invested $500 million in Better as part of a deal making sprint, could put in an additional $1.3 billion through what is known as a PIPE, or private investment in public equity, a common feature of SPAC mergers…. SoftBank’s purchase of shares from existing investors earlier this year valued the company at roughly $6 billion.

Vice Media Group’s plans to go public through a nearly $3 billion merger with a blank-check firm would leave existing investors with control of the company and remove Vice’s onerous financial obligations to private-equity firm TPG….

PlusAI Corp.’s agreement to merge with a special-purpose acquisition company could make the startup the second autonomous driving provider to list on a U.S. exchange…. Plus plans to merge with Hennessy Capital Investment Corp. V in a transaction that would bring the company, which is based in California and China, about $500 million in gross proceeds and a market capitalization of roughly $3.3 billion.

Benson Hill Inc. is going public by merging with a special-purpose acquisition company in a deal that values the plant-growing technology firm at $2 billion…. The St. Louis-based company expects to begin commercial production of its ultrahigh-protein soybean by next year and is developing a yellow-pea protein concentrate. It also has a unit that sells fresh produce to grocery stores and food distributors.

Ginkgo Bioworks Inc., which calls itself an “organism design” company, has agreed to go public in a $17.5 billion merger with a blank-check firm backed by former Hollywood executive Harry Sloan.

The transaction includes a $775 million private placement led by Baillie Gifford, Putnam Investments and Morgan Stanley Investment Management’s Counterpoint Global arm. Cathie Wood’s Ark Investment Management LLC, Bain Capital’s public equity arm, Bill Gates’s Cascade Investment LLC and T. Rowe Price Associates Inc. are also participating in the fundraising, the statement shows.

Mortgage Lender Better to Go Public in SPAC Deal [WSJ]
SoftBank Reports Highest-Ever Annual Profit for a Japanese Company [WSJ]
SoftBank Broke Profit Records. Can It Keep Up the Pace? [DealBook]
Vice Media Targets Valuation of Nearly $3 Billion in Proposed SPAC Deal [WSJ]
Plus’s SPAC Merger Marks Autonomous Trucking Shift to Public Markets [WSJ]
Plant-Tech Firm Benson Hill Going Public in $2 Billion SPAC Merger [WSJ]
Ginkgo Agrees to $17.5 Billion Merger With Harry Sloan SPAC [Bloomberg]

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