EdtechX Holdings launches second blank-check company on Nasdaq

BERLIN, Sept 28 (Reuters) - EdtechX Holdings, an investment platform focusing on the future of education and work, is launching its second listed blank-check company and is looking to buy a business in the sector worth up to $2 billion.

Run by a Franco-British duo of financiers, EdtechX Holdings Acquisition Corp II is seeking to raise gross proceeds of up to $150 million by floating on New York’s Nasdaq exchange, according to its prospectus filed on Monday.

Flotations by Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs), or blank-check companies, have in 2020 emerged as an increasingly popular route to the public markets over a traditional IPO.

A SPAC is a shell company which raises funds in an initial public offering (IPO) with the goal of acquiring a private company, usually within two years of listing. The acquired company then becomes publicly traded as a result.

According to the prospectus, the venture will seek to sign a deal with a company in the private education, training and education technology sectors with an enterprise value of between $400 million and $2 billion.

Its focus will be on the United States, Europe and Asia, excluding China.

EdtechX Holdings II is managed by financiers Benjamin Vedrenne-Cloquet and Charles McIntyre, who also own IBIS Capital, a niche investment bank based in London, and EdtechX Global, a thematic research and events platform.

The launch follows an earlier IPO of a first listed shell by EdtechX Holdings in 2018. The venture completed a $535 million merger with Meten, China’s top English-language training company, in March.

Meten EdtechX briefly gained unicorn status - with a valuation of more than $1 billion - after the merger. Its shares have since declined as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted its operations.

Investment bank Jefferies is the sole bookrunner on the latest deal, with Macquarie Capital acting as lead manager. (Editing by Anirban Sen and Devika Syamnath)