By Noor Zainab Hussain
(Reuters) -Rivian Automotive Inc, which is backed by Amazon.com Inc, is targeting a valuation of more than $53 billion for its U.S. debut, making the electric vehicle manufacturer potentially almost as valuable as rival Honda Motor.
The startup is looking to raise up to $8.4 billion, setting it up to be the third-largest initial public offering (IPO) by funds raised in the past decade in the United States.
Only three other companies have raised more than $8 billion while going public since 2011, according to data from Dealogic.
Alibaba raised a record $25 billion in 2014, Meta Platforms Inc garnered $16 billion in 2012, while Uber made $8.1 billion in 2019.
Since last year, companies in the EV space have emerged as some of the hottest investments, especially among SPAC investors on the hunt for the next Tesla Inc.
While Rivian has yet to sell any significant volume of its electric vans or trucks, it could likely be valued higher than Ferrari, although less than Honda, General Motors or its backer Ford Motor Co.
Founded in 2009 as Mainstream Motors by R. J. Scaringe, the company changed to Rivian in 2011, a name that is derived from "Indian River" in Florida, a place Scaringe frequented in a rowboat as a youth.
The startup has been investing heavily to ramp up production, including for its upscale all-electric R1T pickup truck, which was launched in September, beating out competition from established rivals such as Tesla, General Motors and Ford.
Rivian, which disclosed nearly $1 billion in losses for the first half of this year, had about 48,390 pre-orders for its pickup trucks and R1S SUVs in the United States and Canada as of September.
It is currently pursuing a two-track strategy: building electric delivery vans for Amazon and developing an electric pickup and SUV brand aimed at affluent individuals.
Amazon, which disclosed a 20% stake in Rivian at the end of October, has ordered 100,000 of its electric delivery vans as part of the e-commerce giant's effort to cut carbon footprint.
Ford holds a more than 5% share in the EV startup, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Rivian, which confidentially filed paperwork for an IPO in August, will, however, face tough competition from automakers in both the consumer and commercial van markets.
Ford said last week it has more than 160,000 orders for its F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck and that an electric version of its Transit commercial van is "completely sold out."
General Motors is gearing up production of electric delivery vans, SUVs and pickup trucks.
Rivian said it would sell 135 million shares at a price range of between $57 and $62 each. Reuters reported in September that it could seek a valuation of nearly $80 billion and raise up to $8 billion in its U.S. listing.
Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan are the lead underwriters. Rivian will list on the Nasdaq under the symbol "RIVN".
(Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain and Niket Nishant in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Sanjana Shivdas; Editing by Arun Koyyur)