Britain is rushing out rules to make London’s stock market attractive for ‘blank cheque’ listing vehicles as bankers ready a string of potential floats in Europe as interest in the U.S. fades.
Special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) have been the biggest trend in global capital markets in 2020 and 2021, with investors pouring more than $300 billion into listing these shell companies before they identify and acquire a business – effectively writing a blank cheque. They offer target companies an easier, quicker listing route at a guaranteed price at a time when many IPOs have failed.
So far, the frenzy has passed by Europe’s biggest financial centre, partly because its rules don’t allow investors more of a say on the acquisition or the option to take out their money if they don’t like the target company. But now Britain, trying to keep the City of London competitive after Brexit, is on the cusp of changing that.
Bankers say several SPAC candidates are…