Investors find European unicorns reluctant to join SPAC boom
The U.S. SPAC market kept rolling along this week with news that Satellogic will go public on the Nasdaq stock exchange thanks to a merger with a blank check company. The Earth-imagery-focused company is standard SPAC fare, with strong capital needs and distant revenues. It was not alone in pursuing the transaction type Tuesday, with news breaking that Nextdoor will also go public on the Nasdaq via a SPAC.
These companies represent the two poles of blank-check-powered public offerings: Some startups taking the SPAC route are more speculative, banking on revenues to come, while others feature more established companies with a history of material revenue growth. It’s easy to find more examples of both varieties. Acorns’ deal fits the established trend. Lidar SPACs? Less so.
The Exchange explores startups, markets and money.
Given the breadth of companies pursuing blank-check deals, the SPAC boom isn’t over even if there has been chatter that the party is breaking up. Bessemer partner Mary D’Onofrio told The Exchange, for example, that while the “pace of SPAC IPOs” and combinations have slowed, “there is still $128 billion of SPAC dry powder in the market seeking acquisitions and incentivized to transact.”
Matt Murphy, a partner at Menlo Ventures, helped explain the SPAC pace deceleration that D’Onofrio discussed, telling The Exchange that the pace of SPAC deals “has slowed as they’ve gotten more scrutiny and don’t seem quite as ‘easy’ as they once were.”
But this week’s U.S. SPAC news tells us that blank-check companies are still finding a diverse set of companies to take public. But what about other regions? Unicorns are hardly unique to the U.S. startup ecosystem. Are we seeing similar SPAC interest in Europe?
Hunting European targets
There’s a huge number of SPACs trading in the United States currently hunting for a deal. And there is historical precedent for U.S.-listed blank-check companies taking on European targets. Global law firm Skadden counts 16 U.S. SPAC-led transactions with European companies from 2015 through February of this year, for example.
“For the past few weeks, we’ve been approached on a recurring basis, much like all known French and European scaleups,” Aircall’s co-founder Jonathan Anguelov told French financial newspaper Les Échos last March (translation: TechCrunch). However, being approached doesn’t necessarily mean that European unicorns are entertaining the offers.