Mubadala Capital launches $200m Nasdaq IPO of blank-cheque company

The special purpose acquisition company will consider acquiring media and technology players

Mubadala Capital, the asset management arm of Mubadala Investment Company, launched a $200 million initial public offering of a blank-cheque company which will seek acquisitions in media and technology sectors.

Blue Whale Acquisition Corp I, sponsored by Mubadala Capital, is offering 20,000,000 units in its public offering at $10 per unit, the company said on Wednesday. It will list on the Nasdaq Capital Market in the US.

The special purpose acquisition company is formed for the “purpose of effecting a merger, share exchange, asset acquisition, share purchase, reorganisation or similar business combination with one or more businesses in the media, entertainment and technology industries”, the company said.

BWAC will be led by Maxime Franzetti, head of public equities and Spacs at Mubadala Capital. Adib Mattar, head of private equity at the company and Russ Pillar, founder of Reigning Champs, a student athletes company in the US, also have leadership roles in the investment vehicle.

Goldman Sachs and BofA Securities are acting as book-runners on the deal.

A Spac is a vehicle with no commercial operations. It is formed with the specific intention of raising funds through an IPO and then acquiring an existing company. Spacs have lighter disclosure requirements and have increasingly been used over the past 18 months to take fast-growing companies public quickly.

However, the number and value of blank-cheque company IPOs have slowed in the second quarter of 2021 after a boom in first-quarter listings, according to law firm Allen & Overy.

There were 79 Spac listings during the three months to the end of June that raised a total of $14.6 billion. This was 75 per cent lower by volume and 85 per cent lower by value than the 310 listings in the first quarter, which raised $95.5bn. More was raised via Spacs in the first three months of this year than the $83bn of Spac proceeds from the whole of last year.

Spacs are also becoming popular in the Middle East after music-streaming service Anghami said earlier this year it would list on the Nasdaq through a Spac merger. Swvl, based in Dubai, will become the second technology start-up from the region to list on the Nasdaq through a Spac but the first to have a $1.5bn valuation.

Last month, Dubai investment bank Shuaa Capital said it plans to set up three Spacs with capital of $200m each. In March, Dubai financial and investment advisory company Arrow Capital also co-sponsored the listing of a $240m Spac to pursue merger opportunities in the technology sector.

In addition to managing its own investments, the BWAC sponsor Mubadala Capital manages about $9bn in third-party capital. The company has a long track record of investments, especially in media, entertainment and premium content and services sectors.

It acquired EMI Music Publishing in 2012 and successfully exited in 2018. It has also invested in entertainment, content and sports company Endeavor, Reigning Champs, Imagine Entertainment, Yes Network and Looping Group.

“In total, these transactions and others in the media, entertainment and premium content and services sectors represent more than $1bn of capital,” the company said.

Updated: August 4th 2021, 2:32 PM