Monday 15 February 2021 10:11 am

LVMH founder and former UniCredit boss launch European-focused SPAC

Former UniCredit chief Jean Pierre Mustier and LVMH founder Bernard Arnault are the latest to join the SPAC boom, creating a new vehicle to invest in European financial firms. 

Blank-cheque vehicles have grown in popularity in the past year as IPO activity fell off a cliff at the start of the pandemic. 

They are created to raise capital through a public listing with the purpose of acquiring an existing company. Overall, 144 SPACs have raised $45.7bn so far this year, based on data from SPAC Research, and backers have included former Credit Suisse boss Tidjane Thiam. 

Read more: SPACs: The blank cheque vehicles loved by Richard Branson, Tidjane Thiam and Wilbur Ross

Investment firm Tikehau Capital and Financiere Agache will sponsor the SPAC alongside Mustier and former BoA Merrill Lynch banker Diego De Giorgi. 

Pandemic aside, there are fewer regulatory hurdles than IPOs, companies get access to public markets faster and investment banks like them because they bring in huge fees. 

One of the key selling points is that investors can invest alongside sponsors with industry expertise and the profile of a sponsor is an important one. 

Financiere Agache, a group owned by Arnaut, and Tikehau have already worked on deals within the sector. The SPAC, which will list in Amsterdam, is set to focus on alternative asset management platforms, fintechs, and insurance companies. 

The move follows the launch of the first SPAC in France in December by former Lazard banker Xavier Niel and entrepreneur Moez-Alexandre Zouari, aimed at deals in the food and health industries.

The chief executive of the London Stock Exchange David Schwimmer recently said there had been “increasing curiosity and potential interest” in Spacs in the City. 

Read more: Neil Woodford’s shock comeback raises eyebrows in the City

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