The French billionaire Pino family is joining a growing number of European Spacs sponsors, aiming to raise up to 300 million euros for a blank cheque company focused on the entertainment and leisure industries.
A special purpose procurement tool called I2PO will be launched in Paris on Wednesday. It is also supported by Centerview Partners banker Matthieu Pigasse and will be led by former WarnerMedia executive Iris Knobloch.
Spacs is an investment vehicle that goes public on the stock market and then looks for private companies to merge with it. Wall Street is the center of the Spac mania that has swept the stock market in the past 18 months.
Proponents say they are an easier and cheaper way for companies to go public, but they have recently been scrutinized by US regulators for their often dizzying financial forecasts. The sponsors of these vehicles usually get a 20% stake in Spac at a symbolic cost.
According to data from Refinitiv, only three Spacs were launched in Europe last year, raising US$500 million. In contrast, the United States has 244 attracting investors to invest more than US$80 billion.
Although the US is still the busiest market, activity in Europe will pick up in 2022. So far this year, 21 Spacs have raised US$5.4 billion in Europe; according to Refinitiv data, in the United States, 365 Spacs has raised US$106 billion.
I2PO’s goal is to make 1 billion to 2 billion euro acquisitions in areas such as music and video streaming, games, media services, or booking travel and entertainment platforms.
“We are here to build a European champion in this field,” Knobloch told the Financial Times. “I really think the world has changed… Scale is important, and scale is important. That’s why I see a huge opportunity to integrate a fragmented market and transcend Europe to enter other markets.”
The three supporters are Knobloch; Artemis, the Pinot family holding company, which manages and controls the luxury goods group Kering Group, which manages and controls 40 billion euros; and Pigasse’s financial holding company Combat Holding. Artemis will be represented by François-Henri Pinault and Alban Greget on the board of the new investment vehicle.
I2PO Chairman and CEO Knobloch said: “This is the first Spac made by Artemis as a sponsor, the first Spac founded and operated by a woman, and the first Spac in Europe focused on entertainment and leisure.”
Knobloch resigned from a senior European position at WarnerMedia last month to take over the job. She is also a member of the board of AccorHotels, Lazard and Kering competitor LVMH.
Pigasse, the former head of Lazard in France, is behind Mediawan 2MX Organic, The first two Spacs launched in China, are also shareholders of Le Monde and other media.
Earlier this month, the Zaoui brothers, the founders of the investment banking boutique Zaoui & Co, worked with leading European executives to raise 300 million euros in Amsterdam for a company called Spac. Odyssey acquisition This will invest in healthcare and technology businesses.
In February of this year, LVMH founder Bernard Arnault, Tikehau Capital and former owner of UniCredit Jean Pierre Mustier raised 500 million euros in the listing of a company called “Blank Check” in Amsterdam Pegasus Europe Invest in European financial companies.