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Houlihan Lokey, Saddle Point seek $250 mln for SPAC

BOSTON, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Investment bank Houlihan Lokey and investment firm Saddle Point Management plan to raise $250 million through a blank-check acquisition vehicle, according to a regulatory filing on Monday.

Houlihan joins Lazard, Moelis and Evercore in offering private companies a way to go public by merging with a special purpose acquisition company, an alternative to the traditional initial public offering process offered by bulge bracket banks.

Saddle Point is run by Roy Katzovicz who worked for William Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management before launching his own fund, Maxima Fund I, in 2019. In March medical waste company Stericycle settled with Saddle Point for two board seats.

Katzovicz will be the chief executive officer of Advanced Merger Partners Inc.

The SPAC will “position us well to capitalize on what we believe to be a secular shift towards go-to-market equity financing strategies that recognize the comparative advantages of ‘going public’ by way of a business combination with a blank-check company,” the filing said.

Houlihan Lokey and Saddle Point did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

There will be four independent directors - investors Bruce Zimmerman and Alejandro Santo Domingo, as well as James Ellis, a former academic with expertise in consumer product and retail companies, and entertainment industry expert Ann Daly, who co-founded WndrCo.

Houlihan Lokey Executive Chairman Irwin Gold will also serve as a director and chair of Advanced Merger Partners’ investment committee, while Houlihan banker John Mavredakis will be chairman of the board.

Some 248 SPACs raised around $83 billion through IPOs in 2020, more than the prior 5 years combined, according to SPAC Research. The pace has only intensified in 2021, with 91 SPAC IPOs completed so far to raise $25.8 billion.

Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss with additional reporting by Joshua Franklin; Editing by Stephen Coates

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