PARIS, Feb 15 (Reuters) - French investment firm Tikehau Capital SCA said on Monday it had formed a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) with former UniCredit Chief Executive Jean-Pierre Mustier to target European financial deals.
Tikehau said the SPAC would also be sponsored by French firm Financière Agache SA [GRPANF.UL] and banker Diego De Giorgi, who has worked at UniCredit and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
A SPAC is a shell company that raises money in an initial public offering (IPO) to merge with a privately held company that then becomes publicly traded as a result.
These firms have emerged as a popular IPO alternative for companies, providing a path to going public with less regulatory scrutiny and more certainty over the valuation that will be attained and funds raised.
Overall, 144 SPACs have raised $45.7 billion so far this year, according to data from SPAC Research, with backers including high-profile investors, politicians and sports personalities. [nL4N2KI3DH]
Richard Branson and Barry Sternlicht were among more than two dozen investor groups that filed with U.S. regulators last week to raise new blank-check acquisition companies, setting a new record, and underscoring their appeal on Wall Street.
The Tikehau/Mustier-backed SPAC will target areas such as financial technology or fintech, fund management, insurance and other diversified financial services.
The new Tikehau/Mustier SPAC follows one launched in France in December by French magnate Xavier Niel, former Lazard banker Matthieu Pigasse and entrepreneur Moez-Alexandre Zouari. [nL8N2IP41U]
Mustier, who also had a spell running French bank SocGen's investment banking arm, left UniCredit this month.
In nearly five years at the helm, Mustier rebuilt UniCredit's capital reserves and cleaned up its balance sheet, but failed to find sustained profit drivers or lift the bank's depressed stock price. [nL8N2KG7F2]
(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Edmund Blair)
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Keywords: TIKEHAU MUSTIER/ (UPDATE 2, PIX)