Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Mexico-headquartered blank checks issuer makes U.S. market debut

By John Filar Atwood

A company headquartered in Mexico had not completed an IPO in U.S. markets since 2013 before the offering by Opes Acquisition last week. The blank checks company, which is headquartered in Mexico City, will seek to acquire a business based in Mexico. Opes was one of two blank checks companies that debuted last week. Tiberius Acquisition, which operates out of Louisiana, raised $150 million to pursue a target in the middle-market insurance sector. China’s Senmiao Technology also went public in a $12 million offering that is the year’s second smallest IPO. Following the deal, 29 percent of the year’s IPOs are accounted for by non-U.S. companies.

Zscaler made its public market debut one month after publicly registering. As of mid-March, 2018’s IPO companies are averaging 64 days in public registration. Arcus Biosciences completed a $120 million offering last week, bringing the number of 2018 pharmaceutical preparations deals to nine. California is home to Arcus, Zscaler and six other new issuers so far this year. The week’s other IPO was by Bridgewater Bancshares in the first deal by a state commercial bank (SIC 6022) in 2018. Four SIC 6022 companies completed new issues last year. Minnesota-based Bridgewater raised $78.7 million in a deal led by Sandler O’Neill.

New registrants. The week’s activity included three new registrations, one of which was filed by blank checks company Trident Acquisitions. The company is raising funds to pursue the acquisition of an oil and gas business in Eastern Europe. Company insiders will own 20 percent of Trident’s common shares after the IPO. Concurrently with the IPO, a group of five global investors will purchase $11.5 million of units in Trident. Alzheon, a maker of treatments for neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s disease, also registered last week. In 2013, Italy’s FB Health granted the company a worldwide license to develop neuro-focused small molecule compounds. Alzheon’s chairman previously served as chairman of Actelion and CEO of GlaxoSmithKline. Zuora filed the second preliminary registration by a prepackaged software (SIC 7372) company this year. The company provides cloud-based software that enables companies to transform into a subscription business. Zuora’s key investors include Benchmark Capital Partners and affiliates of Wellington Management.

Withdrawals. No companies chose to withdraw their pending IPO registration statements last week.

The information reported here was gathered using IPO Vital Signs, a Wolters Kluwer Regulatory U.S. database that includes all SEC registered IPOs, including REITs and those non-U.S. IPO filers seeking to list in the U.S. markets. IPO Vital Signs does not track closed-end funds, best efforts or non-underwritten deals, or IPO offerings for amounts less than $5 million.