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SPAC boss the current go-to for former bank CEOs

SPAC boss the current go-to for former bank CEOs

(17 February 2021 - Global) Special purpose acquisition companies (SPAC) have gained traction as the fashionable follow on for bank CEOs looking for their next step with former UniCredit head Jean Pierre Mustier the latest to throw his hat in the ring.

Well established among highflyers in the US there has been a recent boom in the European market with several European bank chiefs looking to turn their hand to private companies. Former Credit Suisse chief executive, Tidjane Thiam, is listing a $250m financials-focused vehicle in New York, while former UBS chief Sergio Ermotti, ex-Commerzbank boss Martin Blessing and Barclays investment banker Makram Azar are among those who have also launched or started work on blank-cheque companies.

SPACs raise money by listing on a stock exchange and then use the proceeds to take promising private businesses public through reverse mergers. Shareholders do not know in advance which businesses SPACs will target, so commit based on the records of those running and sponsoring them.

“Europe needs more growth capital to support companies and the SPAC can be the missing instrument between a traditional IPO and private equity financing,” Mr Mustier told the FT.

In the case of ex-UniCredit head Mustier, he is joining LVMH founder Bernard Arnault and former Bank of America dealmaker Diego De Giorgi to launch and run Pegasus Europe.

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