An introduction to the Golden Falcon (NYSE:GFX) Acquisition Corporation
It is no secret that SPACs are currently dominating the US Marketplace. But across recent times Investors have started to see SPAC-related ventures looking towards targets across Asia and even Europe. The GFX SPAC epitomizes this pursuit.
Trading on the NYSE as of December 17th 2020 with a sizeable yet upsized IPO of $300 million and closing with a highly successful $345 million. The company is in search of the lucrative European Unicorn and brings with is the standard $10 units.
A single share and a half-share warrant is not enough to shake investors as the brilliant team at the Golden Falcon Acquisition Corporation begin their hunt.
Sponsor Analysis & Context
The listed sponsor is the Golden Falcon Sponsor Group LLC with the underwriting responsibilities divided between UBS Investment Bank, Moellis & Co. With EarlyBirdCapital Inc as lead book-runner. However, the deal flow for such a sizeable blank check needs to come from somewhere.
Who better to lead such a such a team and such a Trust than the forme LSE CEO. Xavier Rolet has gone on record multiple times, commending the US Investment and Financial Systems and praising them. Often highlighting investment practices that Europe needs to emulate.
Changing the rules to allow companies to make forward-looking statements in SPAC transactions could draw significant business to the UK and grab some of the trade going to New York.SPAC Review – Co-Authored Xavier Rolet – 2020
The assembled team consists of elite financial figures from around the planet who have undoubtedly come across multiple potential targets for the GFX SPAC. As well as the resources through the private investment firm, Full Circle Capital. Established by the GFX SPAC CEO, Makram Azar.
The CEO of the GFX SPAC is a well known and highly respected individual across the European financial world. Currently sitting as the CEO and Director of Full Circle Capital Limited. This private investment firm was founded by Mr Azar in 2019 and was established in order to address a largely untapped gap in the European marketplace.
Prior to this, he has held a number of impressive and highly influential positions across the contrinent. Most notably his tenure at Braclays Bank PLC (LSE: BARC.L) from 2010 till 2019 across a number of high-level executive positions. His networking and affluence through this position alone guarantees Mr Azar as a truly invaluable addition to the GFX SPAC.
Before his extended period at Barclay, Mr Azar sat as the Managing Director at KKR from 2008 till 2019. Following an `8 year period at the Lehman Brothers as the Head of Sovereign Wealth Funds and Chairman of Media Investment Banking.
Across his impressive career, Mr Azar has overseen a large number of M&A trasnactions, equity capital markets, debt capital markets and private equity deals with an aggregate value in excess of $350 billion, across a wide range of industries. With clients ranging from institutional investors, multinational corporations, wealth funds and even governments!
Sir Xavier Rolet, KBE
The fact that Sir Xavier Rolet is considered a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire should speak to his reputable history and impeccable contributions to his field. Much like the GFX SPAC, he is very outspoken in regards to the lacking mentality of the Europeans markets and strict Financial regulations that impose on the SPAC and VC process.
The sheer level of influence and affluence that Sir Rolet adds to the GFX SPAC is further compounded by his incredible career across the European financial markets. Having most recently sat as the CEO of CQS, a global hedge fund. Sir Rolet is clearly no stranger to international markets.
His most impressive career work was across 2009 to 2018 where he served as the CEO of the London Stock Exchage, the LSE. Considered one of the best CEOs on the planet in the 2017 Harvard Buisness review. Sir Rolet increased the market valuation of the LSE from £800 million to more than £15 billion.
Currently sitting on the board of a number of highly succesful financial institutions and companies, primarily within the private sector. There should be no doubt as to his inclusion and value to the GFX SPAC.
Currently the Chairman of the EUTELSAT Communications. This highly successful French satellite company marks the TMT interest of the GFX SPAC. Mr D’Hinnin is the perfect entry point into the European sector of that marketplace.
Previously holding a number of CFO positions across a variety of industries. Mr D’Hinnin’s served at the Lagardère Group, where he oversaw financial and legal restructuring. Thereafter as CFO of the publisher Hachette Livre, he maintained a direct hand in the merger of Matra with Hachette.
Mr Dominique D’Hinnin also sits on the board and extends his influence across the European continent through the following select list:
- PRISA – World leading Spanish and Portuguese language media group
- EDENRED – French corporate services company
- Technicolor – French technology company
- Louis Delhaize SA – Belgium private retail group
I. Martin Pompadur
Currently a career investor, Mr Pompadur also serves as a financial advisor to a number of companies. His primary career focus has spread across the News and Media sectors, having held a number of high-level executive positions. Most recently from 2009 till 2016, sitting at Global Vice Chairman of the Media and Entertainment department at Macquarie Capital, an investment bank and financial services company.
Althought currently sitting on the board of the publically traded Nexstar Media Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: NXST) and Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSSE) Mr Pompadur has an impressive level of experience within the industry.
The following is a select list of his history across the sector:
- News Corporation – 1998 to 2008 – President, Chairman & Advisor
- RP Media Management – 1982 to 2007 – Chairman & CEO
- Ziff Corporation – 1977 to 1982 – President
- ABC Inc – 1960 to 1977 – General Manager & VP
- GP Station Partners – Chairman & CEO
- IMAX Corporation (NYSE: IMAX)- Director
- Truli Media Group – Director
The incredible level of experience at an execuitve level across the media industry is clearly in line with the GFX SPAC and its potential entrance into the TMT sector.
Isabelle Amiel Azoulai
Sitting at the Co-Founder and Managing Partner at La Maison SA. This highly successful private equity and venture capital group was established in 2014 and has since overseen more than 50 technology focused investments that span across Israel, the United States, Europe and China. The involvement of a European Venture Capitalist with an interest in the relevant sectors is a brilliant addition to the GFX SPAC.
Also sitting as the personal advisor to a number of high net worth European entrepreneurs. Ms Azolulai supplements her impressive career history as a former investment partner at Credit Suisse, where she focused on Ultra High Net Worth Individuals.
This level of networking across the Continent as well as the market understanding and potential targets across the planet can hardly be matched and is a fantastic contribution to the GFX SPAC.
Having Co-Founded the investment management company, Marylebone Partners, in 2013. Mr Mikael Breuer-Weil sat aas the CIO until 2020, whereas he stepped down from executive roles. Prior to that, Mr Breuer-Weil served as the Principal Investment Adviser to the Philantropic family foundations of Lord Jacob Rothschild from 1994 till 2012.
Also maintaing the position of Investment Director at RIT Capital Partners plc, an investment trust maintaining over £2.8 billion current market valuation. Alongside a number of impressive positions in both executive and non-executive positions to a wide array of organizations. Mr Breuer-Weil brings with him a fantastic wealth of experience in investment management.
Targeted Sector & Market Criteria
The scope and potential targets of the GFX SPACs blank check is near limitless. However, the company aims to focus on the TMT and Fintech sectors located in Europe, Israel, the Middle East or North America. The European marketplace seems most likely, according to the deal flow capability through the assembled team.
The nature of the GFX SPAC as a US-traded company seeking an international targets grants a number of highly attractive and competitive benefits:
- foreign exchange valutaion – external markets trade at lower valuations, listing in the US enhances the multiple arbitrage available
- Underpenetrated marketplace – European financial laws heavily impose on SPAC-investments and Venture Capitalist mentality that is rampant across the U.S
- Europe has many family or founder owned buisnesses – deal flow through individuals is preffered
- Limited Competition
- Many unrealized targets – European Tech sector alone has in excess of 60 unicorns (private company with valuation greater than $1 Billion) headquartered in Europe, Israel and the Middle East
The $345 million Blank Check that the GFX SPAC holds is a clear indication of the multi-billion dollar enterprise value of its potential targets. A company of this size clearly maintains a strong “transatlantic nexus.” Indicating a clear present or future intention to spread across to the US marketplace and therefore benefit from a NYSE listing.
Post Deal Value
The ability for Post Deal Value generate from the offerings of the GFX SPAC seems certain. The company is a highly attractive purchase for all investors. There is very little to be said against the offering, from the assembled team to the targeted sector and criteria.
Many investors are extremely hesitant when investing in US-based SPACs looking to enter medical, tech and finance fields due to the sheer market saturation. However, these foreign markets are filled to the brim with likely candidates and the GFX has the luxury of first choice for any Unicorns it may come across.
The Fintech and TMT sectors are traditionally highly scalabe and easily grown industries. Not to mention the level of experience the GFX SPAC team brings in regards to buisness development and growth should leave little doubt in regards to Post Deal Value generation.
GFX SPAC In Summary…
Perhaps the weakest aspect of the GFX SPAC is the lack of a dedicated sponsor. However, this tradionalist assesment would hold true for a local SPAC seeking a more traditional target. The prospectus of the Golden Falcons indicates a much grander vision than that.
It has been validated through DD that foreign investors don’t neccesarily respond to VC’s and Sponsors as well as they do to indvidual relationships (due to an increased amount of founder or family owned buisnesses). In that regard, the GFX SPAC is ahead in leaps and bounds.
Fresh marketplaces across the world have the added advantage of bringing some interesting undervaluation when bringing a US dollar based Trust. That impressively upsized $345 million is worth considerably more with the increased purchasing power of the US dollar.
It goes without saying that the Early Bird gets the Worm. Well, it looks like this Golden Falcon is spoilt for choice!