What happened 

Shares of Graf Industrial (NYSE:GRAF) were trading sharply higher on Wednesday. Graf, a special purpose acquisition company that has agreed to merge with lidar maker Velodyne Lidar, released an upbeat guidance update for Velodyne and confirmed that the merger is on track to close by the end of this month.

As of 11:30 a.m. EDT, Graf's shares were up about 12.8% from Tuesday's closing price.

So what

Graf and Velodyne updated the guidance they released when the merger was first announced in early July, and there was good news to share.

  • Velodyne reaffirmed its prior revenue forecasts, confirming that it still expects about $101 million in revenue in 2020 and total revenue of about $1.7 billion through 2024.
  • Velodyne has signed multi-year agreements with two new customers since its early July update, and now has 18 multi-year agreements in place. 
  • It now expects revenue from its long-term customer agreements to total about $970 million through 2024, up from $840 million in its July forecast. 
  • Velodyne settled its patent-infringement suit against rival lidar maker Hesai Technology in July, on favorable terms.
  • The Graf-Velodyne merger remains on track to close by the end of September.
A Velodyne lidar unit tops the sensor stack on a prototype ArgoAI self-driving sedan.

Velodyne makes the "hockey puck" lidar units used by most self-driving development programs, as seen at the top of this Ford's rooftop sensor array. The company is expected to be a major supplier to builders of self-driving cars as driverless technology is commercialized. Image source: Velodyne Lidar.

Now what

While Graf hasn't yet set a date for the shareholder vote that will make the merger official, the company did give a presentation to its investors on Tuesday, outlining the deal and giving an in-depth view of Velodyne's business. The transaction is expected to leave the combined company -- which will take the Velodyne name -- with about $200 million of cash on its balance sheet. 

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