Ex-Barclays Banker Azar Boosts SPAC IPO Size to $300 Million

Makram Azar, a former senior banker at Barclays Plc, and dealmaker Scott Freidheim raised $300 million after boosting the size of their blank-check company’s U.S. initial public offering.

Golden Falcon Acquisition Corp. sold 30 million units at $10 apiece in the oversubscribed deal, it said in an emailed statement dated Thursday. The special purpose acquisition company was initially offering 25 million units at that price.

The SPAC will primarily look for targets in the European technology, media and telecommunications industry as well as the region’s financial technology sector, according to the statement. Golden Falcon will start trading Friday on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “GFX.U.”

Golden Falcon is hunting for targets valued at more than $1 billion and is hopeful it can close an acquisition “in the coming months,” Azar said in a Bloomberg Television interview Friday. There are many “very attractive” European technology companies that have an ambition to grow further in the U.S., he said.

“For almost all of them, the U.S. market is the holy grail, and we can help them expand there,” Azar said. Investors see “tremendous opportunities” in Europe, which helped demand for the SPAC, he said.

European Opportunities

Successful European enterpreneurs will still want to achieve listings in the U.S., which has the deepest capital markets as well as a more sophisticated investor base and broader pool of stock research, according to Azar.

European exchanges are “much more skewed” toward value stocks and “old economy” firms in banking, health-care and energy, he said. Technology stocks have a weighting of just 6.5% in the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index, compared with 28% of the S&P 500 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

High-profile business figures have increasingly turned to SPACs as a way to pursue dealmaking. Blank-check companies have raised about $80 billion this year, eclipsing previous records, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Azar was formerly chairman of banking for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Barclays. He now runs private investment and advisory group Full Circle Capital Ltd. Freidheim was previously European head at alternative investment firm Investcorp Holdings BSC. The two worked together at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. earlier in their careers.

UBS Group AG and Moelis & Co. led the Golden Falcon offering as joint book-running managers. EarlyBirdCapital Inc. also worked on the deal.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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