Ex-MegaFon Chief Raises $450 Million for Europe Tech SPACs

Former MegaFon PJSC head Ivan Tavrin raised $450 million for two new blank-check companies targeting acquisitions in the European technology industry.

The Russian businessman’s Kismet Acquisition Two Corp. has completed a $200 million U.S. initial public offering, while Kismet Acquisition Three Corp. priced a $250 million sale, according to separate statements Wednesday.

Ex-MegaFon Chief Raises $450 Million for Europe Tech SPACs

Both special-purpose acquisition companies are expected to start trading Thursday on the Nasdaq Capital Market, according to the statements. Citigroup Inc., Credit Suisse Group AG and Bank of America Corp. arranged the deals.

Kismet’s strategy is to become the leading SPAC franchise in EMEA with the capital, publicly listed vehicles and experienced team in place to identify great private companies and bring them to the public markets,” Tavrin said in a phone interview. “We are currently the only local player in Europe with three live SPACs.”

Blank-check companies have raised about $130 billion in U.S. IPOs since the beginning of last year as the asset class exploded in popularity, data compiled by Bloomberg show. While most of the SPACs have been backed by well-known American figures, ranging from veteran bankers to celebrities and retired politicians, an increasing number of European sponsors are also setting them up to raise funds for dealmaking.

“Our geography is not only limited to European targets including German, French, Swedish and other companies but more broader list of Russian, Middle East and other businesses,“ Tavrin said.

Tavrin founded television broadcaster UTH Russia Ltd., now known as Media-1, and was previously chief executive officer of telecommunications operator MegaFon. His first SPAC, Kismet Acquisition One Corp., raised $250 million in its August IPO. This month, it agreed to merge with Nexters Global Ltd., the game studio behind “Hero Wars” and “Throne Rush,” in a transaction valuing the developer at $1.9 billion including debt.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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