(Bloomberg) -- The first blank-check company to list in the Middle East completed a 734 million-dirham ($200 million) fundraising following a recent merger with an identification card printing company.
ADC Acquisition Corp., backed by Chimera Investments and Abu Dhabi wealth fund ADQ, raised the funds via a private investment in public equity — or PIPE — financing that was oversubscribed by more than 10 times. Total demand from qualified and institutional investors exceeded 8 billion dirhams, according to a statement Wednesday.
The special purpose acquisition company is merging with Abu Dhabi-based United Printing & Publishing, a firm that prints ID cards, commercial products and operates a last mile delivery business. UPP will get 1.1 billion dirhams in proceeds, and its enterprise value will be 600 million dirhams, 5.2 times estimated 2023 earnings.
UPP was already a portfolio company of ADQ before the merger, its website shows. Its ownership was transferred to the wealth fund in 2019, according to its financial statements for 2022. While not unheard of, it is rare for a SPAC to acquire one of the portfolio companies of its backers.
“The fact that UPP is a portfolio company of one of the SPAC sponsors raises a potential conflict of interest,” said Josef Schuster, founder and chief executive officer of IPOX Schuster.
ADC wasn’t available for comment outside regular business hours.
ADC’s prospectus says that it is not prohibited from pursuing a business combination with a target that is affiliated with the sponsors. If it does do so it would obtain an opinion from an independent investment banking firm or another valuation or appraisal firm that the planned merger is fair to the company from a financial point of view.
ADC Acquisition raised 367 million dirhams in May 2022 in the region’s first ever blank-check listing. While others were expected to follow, none have yet done so after abysmal returns and tightening regulatory oversight caused SPAC issuance to crater in the US last year.
SPACs are empty shells that raise money from investors in an initial public offering and then scout for private companies to buy within a specified timeframe, usually two years. They exploded in popularity two years ago — when markets were still awash with liquidity and investors quick to back risky ventures.
ADC shareholders will vote on the UPP merger on Oct. 12.
(Updates with quote, prospectus details)
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