Dubai-listed investment bank Shuaa Capital is still in the final stages before its first blank-check company can be listed on the Nasdaq in the United States, but the bank is already eager to launch more special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) in the near future.
“The intention is to raise the other SPACs within quick succession,” said Fawad Tariq Khan, managing director and head of investment banking at Shuaa Capital. In 2021, the bank said it wanted to set up three such companies with capital of $200 million each.
“For some of these businesses that are growing and have global ambitions … a Nasdaq listing gives them currency for future acquisitions, future growth and so on,” he told CNBC’s “Capital Connection” in an exclusive interview on Thursday.
On Tuesday, Shuaa Capital announced that it filed a registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for the launch of a SPAC worth between $100 million and $200 million.
If successful, Shuaa Capital’s first blank-check company will be among only a handful of SPACs by Middle East firms.
SPACs have no commercial operations and are formed solely to raise capital from investors. They do so in an initial public offering and use the cash to merge with a private firm, taking the company public and bypassing traditional IPO routes, which can be lengthy.
Tariq Khan said companies are often looking for different pools of capital and liquidity, and the options can become limited once the firm gets bigger.
SPACs in the United States provide a new avenue to raise money and appeal to Middle East firms that have global ambitions.
That’s the type of company that Shuaa Capital’s SPACs would want to acquire, he said.
“We’re looking for businesses that are on that growth trajectory, requiring substantial amounts of capital but also looking to expand beyond just the region,” he said.
Separately, Tariq Khan said Shuaa Capital is “still very happy” with the path ahead for Anghami, an Abu Dhabi-based music-streaming platform that last week merged with Vistas Media Acquisition Company, a SPAC. Shuaa Capital is an Anghami advisor and investor.
Anghami’s shares fell 16.48% on Wednesday in the U.S. to close at $11.25. After the merger, there was an “initial frenzy” and a “big pop” in the stock, he said.
“It’s still up 12%, 15% from the listing price, so that’s a great success,” he said, adding that Anghami is doing better than other SPACs such as BuzzFeed.
Some price targets expect the Middle East firm to hit $17 within a year, Tariq Khan said. “We’re still very happy with where it’s going.”