Credit Suisse is bolstering its team of Spac dealmakers in Europe, as bankers prepare for an expected wave of blank-cheque companies in the region despite the slowdown on Wall Street.
The Swiss bank has been hiring bankers with expertise in special purpose acquisition companies in London, according to people familiar with the matter. They will work under Omri Lumbroso, who started leading Credit Suisse’s Spac business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa at the beginning of this year.
The bank has hired former Citigroup banker Anurag Agarwal as a vice president within its Spac unit, and is also recruiting juniors, the people added.
“We have bulked up our longstanding team as activity has picked up, which has taken a number of months,” Lumbroso told Financial News.
Europe has not escaped the slowdown in Spac activity after the frenzy of the first half when blank-cheque companies raised an unprecedented $104bn, according to data from S&P Global Intelligence. While activity has picked up in Europe this year, the last significant Spac to hit an exchange in the region was the $325m listing of I2PO in Paris in July.
“The reality is that it is now tougher for Spac IPOs to come to market than it was four or five months ago, but we also see a strong pipeline of deals,” including de-Spac deals, added Lumbroso.
Spacs raise funds through a share sale to fund an acquisition of a private company, usually within two years, and taking it public. Senior dealmakers working on Spacs in Europe told Financial News that there are as many as 50 potential blank-cheque companies in discussion in the region and they remain optimistic of more activity later this year.
“European and US markets are connected, with many of the same investors looking at Spac IPOs on both sides of the Atlantic,” said Lumbroso. “There is an oversupply currently with too many outstanding Spacs looking for deals, and that supply-demand dynamic has not yet realigned. The team in Europe is working on a lot of de-spacing deals, which continue to be very active in the region.”
In Europe, banks have largely been cautious about hiring specialist Spac expertise, with many instead choosing to utilise their existing teams of dealmakers. Goldman Sachs created a new alternative equity products unit led by its co-head of structured equity for Europe, Celine Assouline, which will work on Spacs. JPMorgan promoted veteran dealmakers Guillermo Baygual and Lukasz Dziarnowski to lead a new Spac M&A team.
UBS hired Sandeep Goel earlier this year to focus on Spacs within its London equity capital markets team. Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank has also been bolstering bankers working on Spacs in Europe, as well as embedding expertise across the organisation.
“A lot of our industry and country coverage teams have spent a lot of time working with Spac sponsors on both sides of the Atlantic,” added Lumbroso. “We’ve been building up the knowledge base of the entire firm for years and this has accelerated over the last 18 months.”
JPMorgan currently leads the rankings of investment banks working on Spac IPOs in Emea, with nine deals worth a combined $1.5bn, according to data provider Dealogic. Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Deutsche Bank follow in the league tables, while Credit Suisse ranks fifth.
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