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AEye, Inc., a U.S. LiDAR group, has announced plans to list on the Nasdaq following a business combination with CF Finance Acquisition Corp. III (Nasdaq: CFAC), a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). The combined company will be called AEye Holdings Inc. 

The transaction values AEye at a pro-forma enterprise value of $2.0 billion and delivers up to $455 million of gross proceeds to fully fund the company through profitability.

The proposed deal will help expand AEye’s technology leadership and accelerate the adoption of its active, high-performance LiDAR across key markets.

Following completion of the transaction, AEye will retain its management team, with Blair LaCorte as CEO, Luis Dussan as CTO and Bob Brown as CFO.

AEye’s active LiDAR uniquely enables higher levels of autonomous functionality (SAE L2-L5) at ‘the optimal performance, power, and price’. 

Blair LaCorte, CEO of AEye, says: “With our unique modular system design and go-to-market strategy, we can deliver solutions via technology licensing, custom component bundling, or an integrated hardware and software system. Our established partnerships with leading Tier 1 automotive suppliers (such as Continental) strongly position us to deliver Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) solutions that will increase vehicle safety and enable new performance features, such as highway autopilot.”

He adds: “Additionally, our contract manufacturing and system integrator partners can customize our platform to meet the specific needs of various markets, including trucking, mining, Intelligent Traffic Systems and railways.”

Howard Lutnick, Chairman and CEO of CF III, states: “AEye’s capital light, high margin channel business model, which leverages outsourced manufacturing, makes the company well positioned for commercial success across automotive, industrial and mobility markets. We are thrilled to partner with the company’s visionary team, who have a demonstrated track record as public company executives, and who have built an enterprise-scale technology business.”

AEye was founded in 2013 by Luis Dussan to create low-cost and high-performance artificial intelligence (AI)-driven sensing systems that exceed the capabilities of the human eye. The company is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and is backed by financial investors including Kleiner Perkins, GM Ventures, Continental AG, Hella Ventures, LG Electronics, Subaru-SBI and Airbus Ventures.

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