Blue Nile, the online jewelry retailer founded 23 years ago in Seattle, is going public — again.
The Bellevue, Wash.-based company announced Friday that it is merging with Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corporation II in a SPAC deal that values Blue Nile at $683 million.
It’s the latest chapter in a long history for Blue Nile, an e-commerce pioneer co-founded in 1999 by entrepreneur and investor Mark Vadon. It went public in 2004 but was taken private by Bain Capital and Bow Street in a $500 million deal five years ago.
Blue Nile sells more than 650,000 products and has served more than 2.7 million customers to date. It ships to 44 countries and also has a growing brick-and-mortar presence, with plans to open 40 showrooms by the end of 2023.
The combined company will be named Blue Nile and will be led by Blue Nile CEO Sean Kell, a former Expedia exec and CEO at A Place for Mom who took the CEO reins at Blue Nile in 2019. He replaced Jason Goldberger, who joined in 2017 and is now CEO at Dollar Shave Club.
The SPAC merger, which will generate $450 million in capital before expenses, is expected to close by the end of this year.
Also known as blank check companies, SPACs re-emerged in a big way during the pandemic as capital flowed to newly formed entities and entrepreneurs used the financial instruments to more quickly enter the public markets.
But the performance of post-merger SPACs has steadily dropped, particularly since January amid the larger market downturn, and more deals are getting spiked. CNBC earlier this year called the SPAC market oversaturated.
Vadon, who also co-founded Zulily and was chairman of Chewy, is part of his own SPAC called Big Sky Growth Partners.