Spotify Rival’s Nasdaq Listing May Herald Mideast SPAC Boom
(Bloomberg) -- Spotify Technology SA rival Anghami’s listing via a merger with a blank-check company has triggered a flurry of interest from Middle-Eastern firms exploring similar deals in a region where they are a rarity.
Anghami had announced plans to merge with special purpose acquisition vehicle Vistas Media Acquisition Company Inc. in March. Since then, Vistas says it has got “an overwhelming response” from venture capital, private equity firms and entrepreneurs to explore opportunities.
“We strongly believe there are many similar hidden gems, like Anghami, in the region that can be considered not only by our future SPACs but even other SPAC teams for a successful business combination,” Saurabh Gupta, Vistas co-founder and board member, said in an interview.
SPACs are corporate shells that raise money from investors with the aim of merging with private businesses to take them public. While momentum for the vehicles has waned in the U.S. after the lackluster share performance of recent deals and greater regulatory scrutiny, enthusiasm is starting to catch on in the Middle East.
Financial services firm Shuaa Capital PSC is considering setting up three blank-check companies of around $200 million each, Bloomberg reported on Monday. Dubai-based FIM Partners last week raised $200 million in an IPO of a SPAC on Nasdaq and Mubadala Investment Co. is weighing two deals, the Financial Times said last week.
Vistas is led by Chief Executive Officer F. Jacob Cherian, a former associate at JPMorgan Chase & Co., and co-founders Abhayanand Singh, the head of the Singapore-based media investment company behind the SPAC, and Gupta, a former banker and co-producer of several films.
Gupta said Vistas is looking for companies in high growth sectors and industries like media, consumer technology and healthcare.
The coronavirus pandemic “created an opportunity for a boom in the digital content and media space,” he said. “Things are going to go upwards from here, especially for the MENA region.”
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