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Although Better founder Vishal Garg is “taking a break to reflect and refocus,” he remains the company’s chief executive officer, and the special purpose acquisition company formed to take Better public through a merger “remains confident” that the deal will go through.

That’s according to a regulatory filing submitted by Aurora Acquisition Corp. CEO Arnaud Massenet in the wake of revisions to the SPAC merger terms and mass layoffs at Better that cast doubt on the deal’s timeline.

The filing by Aurora, which was intended “to provide an update on events which occurred at Better HoldCo Inc. earlier this month,” notes that while Garg is on leave, CFO Kevin Ryan “will help oversee the leadership team and continue his duties as chief financial officer. Aurora remains confident in Better and the proposed transaction.”

Under an agreement signed in May, Aurora was expected to finalize its merger with Better Holdco — the parent company of Better Mortgage Corp., Better Real Estate LLC, Better Settlement Services LLC, and Better Cover LLC — by the end of 2021.

But the terms of the deal were revised on Nov. 30, and the next day Garg fired approximately 900 Better employees over a Zoom call. After the call went viral, Garg and Better’s board announced he’d be taking a leave of absence.

A source close to the company previously told Inman that revisions to the merger agreement meant Better would have to resubmit regulatory approvals, with the deal now expected to close next year.

The third amendment to the merger agreement since May extended the outside date for calling off the merger from Feb. 12, 2022, to Sept. 30, 2022, Aurora noted in a Nov. 30 regulatory filing.

Under the terms of the original financing agreements announced in May, SoftBank had committed to take a $1.5 billion stake in Better through a “PIPE” — a private investment in public equity — after the merger of Better and Aurora closed.

The new plan reduces SoftBank’s PIPE…




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