UPDATE 1-Impossible Foods raises about $500 mln in new funding

Jane Lanhee Lee

(Adds more details and background)

SAN FRANCISCO, March 16 (Reuters) - Plant-based meat company Impossible Foods said on Monday it raised about $500 million in its latest series F funding round, which was led by new investor South Korea's Mirae Asset Global Investments.

The funding announcement comes as the novel coronavirus outbreak hits the U.S. hard with schools in many states closing and consumers emptying shelves at grocery stores. Top venture capital firm Sequoia recently called it a "black swan" event and urged its startups to be careful with cash.

"Whatever the headlines are, we have the means to withstand short term shocks and realize our long term mission," Impossible Foods Chief Financial Officer David Lee said.

The latest round brings the total raised by the Redwood City, California company to $1.3 billion. Other investors in this round include Khosla Ventures, Horizons Ventures, and Temasek.

Plant-based meat and lab grown meat companies have been gaining traction with many consumers becoming more aware of the environmental impact of industrial husbandry.

Rival Beyond Meat Inc is trading at three times its initial public offering price in May and worth around $4.5 billion even after the recent market rout.

Impossible Foods declined to disclose the latest valuation. Reuters in November citing sources said the company was aiming to more than double the $2 billion valuation it attained in its May funding round. (https://reut.rs/38UwzHd)

Lee declined to talk about when the company could go public. He said the latest funds will help the company expand its manufacturing capacity. In addition to its plant-based burger patties, Impossible Foods also launched plant-based sausages and pork earlier this year. (Reporting by Jane Lanhee Lee in San Francisco; additional reporting by Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)