Friday 29 January 2021 11:56 am

LSE chief executive says 'blank cheque' companies could boost post-Brexit London

Staff writer

London Stock Exchange Chief Executive David Schwimmer said today: “Britain should replicate New York’s success in listing “blank cheque” companies to boost the City of London’s attractiveness as a global financial centre after Brexit.”

“SPACs clearly have taken off in the U.S. markets. There is increasing curiosity and potential interest in seeing more of them here,” Schwimmer told Reuters.

“We do think there are opportunities in the UK listings regime to make some changes that would make us a more attractive listing regime while maintaining high standards of corporate governance.”

“Blank cheque” companies, also known as Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs), are companies formed to raise capital through initial public offerings (IPOs) for the purpose of acquiring an existing company.

SPACs listed in New York have gained in popularity in the last year.

The FT reported in January that the former Credit Suisse chief executive Tidjane Thiam was raising a $250m SPAC vehicle in New York to invest in financial services businesses in the developed and developing world.

Digital media companies are also looking to consolidate through SPACs without undertaking the traditional IPO process.

The Wall Street Journal reported last December that Group Nine Media was considering using a blank-cheque company to acquire some of its competitors.

City veteran Martin Gilbert has also embarked on a new blank cheque venture in January by buying a stake in his former Aberdeen Asset Management colleague’s ESG boutique, Alquity.

Read more: Martin Gilbert snaps up stake in ESG boutique run by former colleague.