Lakestar founder Klaus Hommels launches Europe’s first tech SPAC

Lakestar founder Klaus Hommels will appear at a technology conference in London on October 21, 2014.

Anthony Harvey | Getty Images for TechCrunch

LONDON – The SPAC craze has officially arrived in Europe.

European tech investor Klaus Hommels set up a blank check firm on Wednesday to start a late-night tech company in the region.

Hommels, the founder of the venture capital firm Lakestar, wants to bring in up to 275 million euros (332 million US dollars) for his SPAC, which is called Lakestar SPAC I SE.

SPACs, or Special Purpose Acquisition Companies, are shell companies founded solely with the aim of raising funds to acquire an existing private company so that the target company can bypass the traditional IPO.

Hommels’ SPAC is expected to be listed on Monday in Frankfurt under the ticker LRSW. The investments of the German venture capitalist range from Facebook and Spotify to the financial technology start-up Revolut.

“The European technology sector today offers attractive investment opportunities with promising valuations and many excellent growth companies,” said Hommels in a statement.

“As a team, we are deeply embedded in the European growth and pre-IPO ecosystem, with high quality access to assets and an extensive deal-sourcing network.”

Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley acted as joint global coordinators for the deal, according to a press release.

Despite a banner year for blank check firms in the US, Europe largely missed the SPAC boom. SPACs raised a total of $ 78.2 billion from 244 initial public offerings. And 2021 was no different: the US SPACs have already collected more than half of the previous year.

Only three SPACs were listed in Europe last year, fetching $ 495 million. And only one SPAC made its debut on the continent this year in Amsterdam.

Oliver Samwer, founder of the so-called “start-up factory” Rocket Internet, founds a blank check company that wants to merge with a technology company outside the USA. However, Samwers SPAC is more likely to be listed in New York than in Europe. A growing number of New York listed SPACs are looking for technology companies in Europe.

Hommels’ SPAC said it would look for a tech deal over the next 24 months. It is touted as “Europe’s first technology-driven SPAC” and one of the first to bring the US SPAC structure to the continent so that investors can redeem their shares if they are dissatisfied with the target company.

SPACs tend to be structured differently in the USA than in Europe. There are far fewer publicly traded technology companies in Europe than in the US, making it more difficult for investors and analysts to compare and benchmark companies in the sector.

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