(Bloomberg) -- Abu Dhabi regulators approved a framework for special purpose acquisition companies, looking to capture some of the blank-check boom that has gripped global markets for the past two years.
The move by the United Arab Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority paves the way for the Gulf region’s first SPAC listing, the government media office said on Monday. Exchanges in the region have been vying to set up their own rulebooks for blank-check firms since they exploded on Wall Street.
Blank-check offerings have raised $250 billion since the start of 2020 in the U.S. alone, though the pace of new deals has slowed down markedly amid dwindling investor enthusiasm. SPACs can provide a quicker route to going public than a fully-fledged IPO, but increased regulatory scrutiny and slumping stock prices have reduced their appeal in New York.
SPACs are empty shells that raise money from investors with a view to acquiring a private company in a set time frame, usually two years.
Read More: Dubai DIFC Regulator Publishes General Framework for SPACs
Neighboring Dubai has also proposed a general framework for SPAC listings, while Saudi Arabia’s bourse is considering whether to allow them, its chief executive said last year. Egypt is gearing up for blank-check firms, with the head of the country’s financial regulator saying he expects the first deal no later than February, according to Arab News.
In Abu Dhabi, sponsors will need to raise a minimum of 100 million dirhams ($27 million) in the initial public offering and the units sold will include warrants that give investors and sponsors the right to convert them into shares.
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