The first American-style blank check company has landed in Europe, as demand for Special Purpose Acquisition Companies, or SPACs, in the region begins to rise amid a $ 100 billion surge across Atlantic.
German tech investor Klaus Hommels on Wednesday launched a SPAC through his venture capital firm Lakestar, which will consider buying a developing-stage European tech company worth between $ 750 million and $ 4 billion (4, 8 billion dollars).
Lakestar SPAC 1 SE is looking to raise up to € 275 million and will be listed in Frankfurt. It will be the third European blank check company to launch within a week, and a clear sign that the bargaining frenzy that has gripped Wall Street is making its way to the mainland.
Read: Europe joins the boom of Wall Streets in blank check companies
It is also the first American-style SPAC in Europe, allowing investors to redeem their money if they do not approve of an acquisition target. This compares to the UK, where investors are stuck as soon as a PSPC goes public, leaving many reluctant to participate in blank check companies.
Enrollments through PSPCs can help us fill in the gaps that we in Europe have traditionally had when it comes to providing our businesses with sufficient capital, Hommels said in a statement. The most important needs are for companies that need 200-300 million in capital to keep growing. We therefore aim to invest in a European company which, historically, should have raised this capital on the American markets.
Hommels, an early investor in streaming service Spotify SPOT, + 0.41%, joins former UniCredit boss Jean-Pierre Mustier, who teamed up earlier this week with LVMH MC, the billionaire at -0.89% Bernard Arnault to launch a SPAC in Amsterdam. ESG investments, + 0.85%, which on February 12 raised 250 million in the Dutch city to buy companies focused on the environmental, social and governance space.
PSPCs raise capital through initial public offerings, then seek out private companies to buy or merge with, before going public. They have two years to make a deal or they have to return the cash, which is held in trust, to their investors.
Read: Former chairman of investment bank Barclays plans to raise $ 250 million with blank check company
Most of the PSPCs targeting European companies launched in recent months, many of which are led by former executives of leading European banks, have chosen to raise funds in the United States, which has the largest cash reserves.
Although more than $ 100 billion in capital has been raised by PSPC’s U.S. IPOs over the past year, according to data provider Refinitiv, Europe has seen virtually nothing. Prior to the activity of the past seven days, only $ 132 million had been raised by blank check companies on European exchanges.
JPMorgan JPM, + 0.31% advises Lakestar on the case. This week, the U.S. bank promoted senior negotiators Guillermo Baygual and Lukasz Dziarnowski to head a new specialized SPAC unit in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Financial News reported.
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