Female-led blank-check firm aims to raise $300 million in U.S. IPO

FILE PHOTO: Joanna Coles after being made an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) by the Duke of Cambridge at an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London, Britain March 28, 2019. Victoria Jones/Pool via REUTERS/

(Reuters) – A blank-check company that is one of only a small number of female-led special purpose acquisition companies is looking to raise $300 million in a U.S. initial public offering, the company said on Tuesday.

The firm, Northern Star Acquisition Corp, led by Joanna Coles, a former Hearst Magazines editor and chief content officer, is looking to sell 30 million units at $10 apiece, it said in a filing here. Coles, the chairperson and chief executive of the company, is also on the board of Snap Inc SNAP.N.

Jon Ledecky, the majority owner of the NHL team New York Islanders, is the firm’s president and chief operating officer. Valerie Jarrett, an adviser to former U.S. President Barack Obama, is on the board of Northern Star.

A special acquisition company, or SPAC, is a shell vehicle that raises money in an IPO to buy and then merge with an unknown company, typically within two years. High-profile investors such as Bill Ackman and Michael Klein have raised billions through their SPACs this year.

In total, 112 SPACs have raised $42.9 billion through IPOs so far in 2020, far and away the biggest year on record, according to SPAC Research data.

However, only a small number of these have had female chairs or CEOs, including FTAC Olympus Acquisition Corp FTOCU.O, where Betsy Cohen is the chair.

Advisory firm Perella Weinberg has said it is planning an IPO of PWP Forward Acquisition Corp I, which will be led by Stacia Schlosser Ryan.

Citigroup Global Markets is the underwriter for the IPO.

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