Cohen SPAC to Merge With Business Services Firm Pico
(Bloomberg) -- Serial blank-check company dealmaker Betsy Cohen has found her seventh target, a technology provider for financial services companies.
FTAC Athena Acquisition Corp. has agreed to merge with New York-based Pico in a deal that will give the combined company an equity value of $1.75 billion, according to a statement Wednesday that confirmed a Bloomberg News report.
The special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, is also raising $200 million of equity to support the Pico transaction. Investors in that private investment in public equity, or PIPE, include Golden Gate Capital and Wellington Management, the statement shows.
Cohen, the SPAC’s chairman, has made a fortune taking financial technology firms public through her series of blank-check companies. That includes a merger announced in March that valued a combination with online trading platform eToro Group Ltd. at $10.4 billion, as well as a deal with investment bank Perella Weinberg Partners, which began trading in June.
“We continued to hone our basic philosophy, and that is to be good stewards of the funding that we raised from investors in SPACs to find excellent companies,” Cohen said of the Pico deal in an interview. “And we will continue to do that.”
With six earlier transactions, Cohen is one of the most active dealmakers in SPACs, which surged in popularity in 2020 and continue to provide companies an alternative to initial public offerings for becoming publicly traded.
Eagle Equity Partners, led by former chairman of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. Harry Sloan, Jeff Sagansky and Eli Baker, has announced seven deals including its most recent, Soaring Eagle Acquisition Corp.’s $17.5 billion merger with Ginkgo Bioworks Inc.
Pico provides market data and analytics to financial services companies including banks, exchanges, hedge funds and other financial technology providers. Its other services include cloud infrastructure.
The company’s clients, according to its website, include Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., as well as Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, which is also a competitor in some of its business functions.
Pico’s founder, Chairman and co-Chief Executive Officer, Jarrod Yuster, will continue to lead the company alongside the existing management team. Yuster identified Hurricane Sandy, which hit New York City in 2012, as a key turning point in the company’s history that drew in several big clients.
“Many of the banks, institutions and exchanges did not have proper disaster recovery strategies so several of them were not up and running over the following two weeks,” Yuster said in an interview.
He now sees Asia as the next big opportunity for growth, and plans to use some of the proceeds from the SPAC deal for mergers and acquisitions, with at least two deals in the works that could be announced by year end, he said.
FTAC Athena Acquisition raised $250 million in its IPO in February. The vehicle focused on finding targets in technology or financial technology, according to its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The combined company will trade on Nasdaq once the deal closes.
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