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IPOs Picking Up Steam In Europe

There’s a whole lot of buying of “next big things” across Europe these days, with more than half of the 27 companies being offered by SPACs having been listed since June, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

And the pace of deal-making is especially frenetic, with the typical two-year window to find an acquisition target being sped up significantly across Europe. A glut of SPAC deals in North America has some fearing an economic bubble that will soon burst, but the same is not true in Europe.

Many there are hoping to see celebrity-backed companies find their way onto the local stock markets — especially since oversight is fairly negligible across the continent. Europe had its most SPACs issued in the second quarter of 2021 since the start of last year, while the U.S. was at its lowest level in the same time period.

Overall, though, about 580 U.S. SPACs have raised $180 billion since 2020, compared to $7.2 billion in the same time frame across Europe.

Among the European companies to be scooped up in recent months by American SPACs are U.K.-based medical startup Babylon Holdings Ltd., online used-car platform Cazoo Ltd. and electric van maker Arrival Ltd.

Another U.S. SPAC with deep pockets, which is headed by former UBS Group AG CEO Sergio Ermotti, said this week that it plans to take Italian fashion brand Ermenegildo Zegna public at a $3.2 billion valuation.

Meanwhile, U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak is planning a summit for entrepreneurs in the technology sector next week, and will introduce a 375 million pound fund for startups that are focused on research and development (R&D), the Financial Times reported.

The Future Fund Breakthrough, which is part of a wider initiative to support companies in the tech space, includes revamping competition laws and extending new tech visas in an effort to attract talent.

Funds will be awarded to British technology firms needing money to step up the development and release of advanced technologies, per the report. An earlier version of the fund introduced last April targeted firms struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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