European Spac market thaws with £125m Disruptive Capital listing

A £125m blank-cheque company listing in Amsterdam is unfreezing the European Spac IPO market, which has not seen a deal since July despite ongoing expectations that the boom will move across the pond from Wall Street.

Disruptive Capital Acquisition Company unveiled its plans to list a £125m ($170m) special purpose acquisition company on Amsterdam’s Euronext exchange on 7 October. This is the first European Spac since the $325m Paris listing of IP2O in July by ex-Lazard dealmaker Matthieu Pigasse and former WarnerMedia president, Iris Knobloch, which is targeting investments in entertainment.

It is the first Spac IPO in the Dutch city, which has largely been winning the race for European blank-cheque companies, since New Amsterdam Invest’s $58m listing on 6 July.

READ De-Spac hangover looms for $127bn blank-cheque party: ‘The Spac market is in terrible shape’

The European Spac market, which was broadly expected to follow the frenzy of blank-cheque company launches in the US earlier this year, has so far been patchy. $6.8bn has been raised on European exchanges by Spac IPOs this year — by far an annual record — but activity has tailed off in line with the slowdown on Wall Street.

Dealmakers told Financial News previously that up to 50 potential Spac deals could hit European exchanges over the coming months, but that there has been an increased focus on the quality of those running the newly-launched vehicles.

Spacs raise money on public markets to fund an acquisition of a private company, usually within two years. An unprecedented 456 Spacs have been launched globally so far this year, raising a total of $129.6bn, but most of this was unveiled in the first half of 2021. Regulatory intervention, law suits and investor scepticism have all contributed to a slowdown in recent months, while acquisitions – or de-Spacs – have also slowed.

Disruptive Capital Acquisition Company is run by serial dealmaker Edi Truell, who told The Times on 6 October that he was looking at “unfashionably boring businesses” to buy.

The UK changed its rules on Spacs to bring it in line with international competitors, but it has so far failed to attract any significant new listings. Truell told the Times that he would have listed in London if the changes had occurred sooner. “It takes months to do these things, so we started in the summer and, at the time, London hadn’t got its act together,” he said.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Paul Clarke

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