Mortgage

Higher.com SPAC companion asks for extra time to finish merger

The company seeking to take lender Better.com public is asking its shareholders to extend its merger deadline.

Aurora Acquisition Corp. will hold a meeting to vote on whether to extend the merger deadline from March 8 to Sept. 30 of this year, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission disclosure filed Thursday. The special purpose acquisition company said it needs more time to complete the business combination first announced in May 2021.

“After careful consideration of all relevant factors, our board has determined that the extension proposal is advisable and recommends that you vote or give instruction to vote ‘FOR’ such proposal,” the filing said.

If the merger isn’t completed by the deadline, the SPAC will shutter, ending Better.com’s clearest path to Wall Street. The filing didn’t say when the meeting would be held, and a representative for Aurora didn’t return a request for comment.

Better declined to comment Friday.

The lender is coming off a difficult year of massive layoffs and federal lawsuits from former employees, and hasn’t disclosed its financial performance since reporting a $327.7 million loss in the first quarter of 2022 via a July SEC filing by Aurora. Better lost $303.8 million in all of 2021, and has trimmed its one-time payroll of over 10,000 employees by at least 72%. 

The SPAC merger deadline was already extended last August, which pushed the date from last December to March. Aurora and Better at the time also said they were discussing alternative financing arrangements in which the lender would remain private, and Better also amended nine-figure funding arrangements with sponsors Novator Capital and SoftBank. 

Better said it was also cooperating with an SEC probe over lawsuit accusations it misled investors. The complaint from former second-in-command Sarah Pierce is pending in a New York federal court, as well as a countersuit from Better against Pierce over an alleged debt owed.

If the SPAC doesn’t complete its merger, Aurora will wind down operations and within 10 business days redeem public shares and Novator private placement shares, it said.

Better is the rare lender still engaged with a SPAC, as the once-hot “blank check” companies have faded in popularity over the past year with declining stock values and less frequent initial public offerings.

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