New $300m SPAC by James Murdoch’s unit eyes South, SE Asia

Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

Media billionaire James Murdoch’s investment company Lupa Systems and former Walt Disney Asia Pacific president Uday Shankar have launched Seven Islands Inc, a new blank-cheque company aiming to raise $300 million to invest in the South and Southeast Asian region.

The special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) will invest in the media, entertainment, consumer technology, healthcare, and education industries in Southeast and South Asia, with a particular focus on India.

“We will seek to acquire a business that is well-positioned to participate in sector consolidation or would benefit from a public acquisition currency,” the SPAC sponsor said in a stock exchange filing, adding that it will also look for acquisition targets with the potential for significant free cash flow generation.

Seven Islands Inc is offering its shares at $10 for each Class A ordinary share and one-fourth of one redeemable warrant. The offering could reach $345 million if the underwriters’ over-allotment option is exercised in full.

The SPAC will be listed on Nasdaq with the SVNIU ticker. Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and PJT Partners are bookrunners for the deal.

“On average, the countries in Southeast and South Asia are forecast to grow at 5.5% annually in real terms from 2021 through 2025, according to the IMF World Economic Outlook. We believe that this next phase of growth will be driven by a combination of accelerating consumer demand and a rise in consumer spending power, underpinned by structural shifts in these economies,” the SPAC sponsor said, adding that they were enticed by the region’s young populations who are increasingly skilled, educated and experiencing rising incomes.

James Murdoch founded Lupa Systems in 2019 as he quit 21st Century Fox. Lupa has made more than 30 investments, including in three Indian digital news and edtech companies: VerSe Innovation, Harappa Education and Class 21A Technologies, according to the filing.

Shankar had served as chairman and CEO of Star India and president of 21st Century Fox Asia. More recently, he was chairman of The Walt Disney Company India and president of The Walt Disney Company Asia Pacific.

Murdoch and Shankar act as co-chairmen of Seven Islands Inc.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.