(Bloomberg) -- A blank-check company that set its sights on buying a business in health care is taking on an industrial firm instead as empty-handed SPACs try to beat deadlines that would force them to shut down.
Aesther Healthcare Acquisition Corp. agreed to acquire United Gear & Assembly Inc., a maker of high precision gears for electric vehicles, effectively taking it public. Aesther, a special-purpose acquisition company, initially told investors last July it planned to buy a pharmaceutical or medical device firm, industries where its management team “has extensive experience,” according to its prospectus.
The altered focus comes amid a flurry of deals where sponsors face looming deadlines to either get a merger done or risk closing shop. At least 17 deals have been announced this month, but that leaves about 595 SPACs on the hunt for something to buy, according to data from SPAC Research. Aesther had set an initial September deadline for itself.
SPACs are called blank checks because they raise cash from investors through a public offering with the goal of buying a private business that’s chosen later by a certain time, typically within about two years. Sometimes sponsors will say which industries their blank check is targeting, often touting the prior expertise of the SPAC’s managers in that business, but there’s no formal obligation to stick to that sector.
“We wanted to make sure we found a revenue-generating, Ebitda-positive acquisition,” Aesther Chief Executive Officer Suren Ajjarapu said in an interview.
“We looked at almost 27 to 30 health-care deals; most of them are non-cash flow, blue-sky projection companies,” Ajjarapu said by phone. “We focused on an exponential-growth oriented company and that’s what we landed on.”
Aesther isn’t alone in stepping beyond its initial area of focus to strike a deal. Tuscan Holdings Corp. II this month bailed on plans to find a cannabis firm and instead struck a deal with Surf Air Mobility Corp., a membership-based operator of private planes with plans to rely on electric engines.
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