June 25, 2015 / 1:55 PM / in 2 years

Acasta Enterprises set to raise $222 million in Toronto IPO

TORONTO (Reuters) - Acasta Enterprises Inc plans to raise C$275 million ($222.08 million) through an initial public offering in Toronto, joining a line of special purpose acquisition corporations (SPACs) with high-profile backers raising public capital to pursue acquisitions.

Toronto-based Acasta, which is targeting an acquisition in North America, plans to sell some 27.5 million units at C$10 a unit to list on the Toronto Stock Exchange, the company said late Wednesday.

Acasta’s IPO would be the biggest by a Canadian SPAC this year. SPACs are publicly traded buyout companies that use a private-equity style, leveraged buyout model to make acquisitions.

The boards and management ranks of these shell companies are typically filled with a ‘who’s who’ of Canadian businesses.

Acasta is headed by Anthony Melman, a former partner and managing director of Canadian private equity firm Onex Corp OCX.TO. It is chaired by Belinda Stronach, whose family founded Magna International Inc (MG.TO) and who heads the Stronach Group, a private consortium that owns and operates a number of businesses.

Acasta’s board, management and advisory ranks also include Air Canada (AC.TO) Chief Executive Calin Rovinescu, Hunter Harrison, the CEO of Canadian Pacific Railway (CP.TO); Rick Waugh, the former head of Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) and Geoff Beattie, former president of Woodbridge, the Thomson family’s holding firm that is a majority shareholder of Thomson Reuters (TRI.TO).

Acasta said it was focused on acquiring companies with an enterprise value of between C$1 billion and C$2 billion.

The IPO is being underwritten by Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO), Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) and Canaccord Genuity Group Inc (CF.TO).

Earlier this month, another SPAC, Alignvest Acquisition Corp AQX_u.TO, raised almost double the money it set out to raise via its IPO.

Prior to that, INFOR Acquisition IAC_u.TO raised C$230 million in May, while Dundee Acquisition Ltd DAQa.TO raised some C$112 million in April.

Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson and Bernadette Baum

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