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Why This Fintech Chose a SPAC for Going Public

By Matthew Frankel, CFP® - Mar 10, 2021 at 6:26AM

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We ask a CEO of a company going public through a SPAC merger why it was the right move for his business.

We've seen more businesses choose to go public by merging with special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) in the past year than in the previous 10 years combined. But why are these "blank check companies" such a popular route to the public markets?

In this Fool Live video clip, recorded on March 1, contributor Matt Frankel, CFP, asks Payoneer CEO Scott Galit, whose company recently announced it will go public via a merger with FTAC Olympus Acquisition (FTOC), why he made the decision.

Matt Frankel: The whole theme of today's show, the whole hour is the SPAC show, which is one of the reasons we're excited you're here. Obviously you went public for, in part at least, to raise some capital because growth costs money.

Scott Galit: Absolutely.

Frankel: Why did you choose a SPAC as opposed to the traditional route?

Galit: A great question and again, thrilled to have the chance to be part of your show about SPACs. For us it was a few things. One, when I used to take companies public for a living, I was an investment banker many years ago and we have folks on our board, who for example, on the board is Spotify (SPOT -4.75%), which shows a direct listing as opposed to a traditional IPO. As we had thought about the path to the public markets, we went into it pretty open-minded, having in mind some of the positives and negatives of each of the different paths available. When we thought about SPAC, there are few things. One, as we were coming out of COVID, we realized that actually we had a bit of noise in our numbers last year and that the ability to share projections as part of the process was actually going to be a really important tool for us to use, to actually make sure the investment community really understood our story. The positive growth trends coming as a result of some of the digital trends from COVID and also some of the trade-offs and challenges that we felt last year. Another was pricing certainty. The ability to pull that part of the process forward and make sure that we actually had the deal that we felt was fair and that it was actually validated by public market investors through the PIPE before we went through the whole rest of the process with something that we thought was an important step for us to take. Access to a large pool of capital which you already touched on. This was a large SPAC. I don't know that we would have seriously considered one that was small. For us, that was important to get a lot of capital because of what we see is so many growth opportunities. Then the partner. I don't know how much time you've spent with Betsy Cohen and focus on her team. She is terrific and it really was a great opportunity to partner with someone that I respect, have known for many years on a really important next step for us.

Frankel: One of the questions that I'm asked a lot because I talk about SPACs pretty often on the show. When the SPAC merger is completed, the existing management team usually stays in place. I assume you're still going to be CEO after the merger. 

Galit: That's the plan, yeah.

Frankel: What role does SPAC play? Betsy Cohen has said, "A banking heavyweight.'' What role does the SPAC sponsor play after the deal is completed?

Galit: They really are there as advisors and important shareholders, basically going forward. So our interests are aligned around creating value for customers and value for our shareholders. But they're not involved in actively managing the business. If there are needs, if there were a reason for us to look to supplement talents or things like that, they can be helpful. But for the most part, they're bringing their expertise and advise around the management, at the board level and as an important investor with interest very much aligned.

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