The quest to go public by the online mortgage and real estate company Better.com has been amended for the fourth time as the company continues facing headwinds.
Friday the groups agreed to extend a merger to make Better a publicly traded company, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that was made public on Monday.
The merger is now set for March 8, 2023, unless Better finds alternative financing that could lead it to remain a private company, according to the filing.
The groups behind the merger “are in discussions regarding alternative financing arrangements for Better pursuant to which the Merger Agreement and related transactions would be terminated and Better would remain a private company,” according to the filing.
Better has been working with a company called Aurora Acquisition Corp. to go public since May 2021. The date had previously been extended from February to the end of this September.
If the merger isn’t complete by March 8, “Aurora would cease all operations except for the purpose of winding-up and, as promptly as reasonably possible, but not more than 10 business days thereafter, redeem the Aurora public shares.”
Better has maintained its commitment to becoming a publicly traded company through its most tumultuous period that included a dramatic slowdown in the real estate market and global uncertainty caused by regulatory actions to tamp down inflation.
The company has shed over 60 percent of its workforce since December when it had ballooned to over 10,000 employees in the U.S., United Kingdom and India.
This month Better conducted the fourth round of layoffs in nine months when it let go of another 250 employees, TechCrunch reported.
Last month, the company said the SEC was looking into issues including related-party transactions and allegations made in litigation filed by Sarah Pierce, Better’s former head of sales and operations, according to a regulatory filing. That same filing also included the first admission that Better might look to remain private, as other financial partners were stepping back from the company.
Although primarily known as a mortgage lender, Better also operates a real estate brokerage and title subsidiaries, and the company claims that its vertically-integrated business structure creates efficiencies that allow it to outcompete rivals on price.
SoftBank and Novator Capital have committed to providing up to $750 million in additional financing through a convertible note at Better’s option within 45 days of closing the merger.