Manipal scion, private equity veteran set up SPAC eyeing consumer firms
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Private equity veteran Rohan Ajila and Manipal Group chairman Gautham Pai have set up a special purpose acquisition vehicle (SPAC) focused on the consumer space.

Global Consumer Acquisition Corp raised $170 million in an initial public offering this week. However, the blank-cheque firm initially intended to raise $200 million.

SPACs are shell firms that raise funds to acquire a private company. This allows the target to skip the traditional IPO and list on the bourse with less regulatory scrutiny.

Global Consumer Acquisition Corp is listed on NASDAQ under the symbol “GACQU”.

“We intend to focus on global consumer companies with a significant Asia presence or a compelling Asia potential, especially India,” said Ajila, co-chairman and CEO of Global Consumer Acquisition Corp.

Ajila is also managing partner at FIDES Business Partner, a private equity firm based in Zurich. He was earlier associated with Capvent AG, a private equity and Fund of Funds investment house.

Global Consumer Acquisition Corp is aiming to acquire targets with enterprise value in the range of $500 million-$1 billion complemented by a series of tuck-in acquisitions in similar or adjacent categories to further accelerate the growth of this platform.

The company declined to specify which companies they are in discussions with. “The SPAC aims to get a deal done in the next 12 months,” Ajila said.

A source said that the company was primarily looking at food & beverages businesses. It also intends to build up a portfolio in personal care. “It was once in talks with a leading speciality food ingredients maker and the valuation of the target firm was anywhere around Rs 3,000 crore,” he added.

Of late, cashed-up Indian firms have been favouring the backdoor to the public markets over a traditional listing. Indian tech firms that have for long dreamt of a domestic listing -- Flipkart and Grofers, for example -- and even renewables major Renew Power now seem to be hopping on to the SPAC track.

Last month, VCCircle reported that PharmEasy is looking to do an IPO in India but is also keeping the indirect listing option open for the US markets.

In March, venture capital and growth-equity firm Elevation Capital, formerly SAIF Partners, partnered (https://www.vccircle.com/elevation-capital-think-investments-blank-cheque-firm-files-for-us-listing/ US-based Think Investments for a blank-cheque firm that has filed for a US listing.

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