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Opinion

Spacs give Singapore a decision to make

More Asian entrepreneurs are going to New York to raise money for Spac listings. Should Singapore’s SGX seek to intercept these listings?

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It should surprise nobody that Singapore Exchange (SGX) is thinking of allowing special purpose acquisition company (Spac) listings. If anything, it is odd it has taken this long.

Spacs raised around $81 billion in 2020 across 250 IPOs, mostly on North American exchanges. The phenomenon has caught the attention of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists in Asia, all of whom, so far, have headed to New York to raise their money.

So why wouldn’t SGX, badly in need of a spur to new listings, seek to provide a source of funds closer to home?

The story of Spacs in Asia in effect starts with Antony Leung, Hong Kong’s former finance secretary and a former Blackstone Greater China chairman, who raised $1.5 billion through a Spac structure on the New York Stock Exchange in 2018. He eventually used it to buy United Family Healthcare from TPG Capital and Fosun Pharma in 2019.

Suitably impressed, many of the biggest names in Asia have followed.

Citic Capital raised $240 million in February. Hong Kong tycoon Richard Li and venture capitalist Peter Thiel, through their Bridgetown Holdings vehicle, raised $595 million in October and are understood to be in the market with a new vehicle, Bridgetown 2, for another $200 million.


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