June 25, 2015 / 1:45 PM / 3 years ago

Acasta Enterprises set to raise C$275 million in Toronto IPO

TORONTO, June 25 (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 . It is chaired by Belinda Stronach, whose family founded Magna International Inc 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 Chief Executive Calin Rovinescu, Hunter Harrison, the CEO of Canadian Pacific Railway ; Rick Waugh, the former head of Bank of Nova Scotia and Geoff Beattie, former president of Woodbridge, the Thomson family’s holding firm that is a majority shareholder of Thomson Reuters .

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, Toronto-Dominion Bank and Canaccord Genuity Group Inc .

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

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

$1 = 1.2383 Canadian dollars Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson and Bernadette Baum

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