Vertex Holdings seeks to launch over $150m SPAC in SG by year-end

Photo: Vertex Holdings

Vertex Holdings is looking to launch a S$200-250 million ($150-185 million) special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) on the Singapore Exchange (SGX), according to sources close to the matter.

Vertex Holdings is one of Southeast Asia’s oldest venture capital funds, managing around $6 billion of assets globally.

The Temasek-backed venture capital firm is understood to be filing its application with the SGX this month, and is likely to be one of the first blank cheque firms to list in Singapore. Sources add that Vertex is aiming to list its SPAC by the end of this year.

The size of Vertex’s SPAC vehicle is understood to be a little higher than the minimum value of S$150 million set by the exchange, indicating that it may choose to merge with a slightly larger target of around S$1 billion.

Sources add that Vertex is seriously considering merging its upcoming SPAC with one of its investee companies, of which there are several across its global portfolio of six funds across the US, China, Israel, India and Southeast Asia.

Vertex will join roughly 2-3 other blank cheque firms to form the first tranche of “Singapore Inc SPACs” — all aimed at building dealflow for the SGX which is banking on this alternative asset class to revive its listings. The names said to be part of this first tranche include private equity firms Novo Tellus and Tikehau Capital.

Temasek subsidiary Heliconia Capital, while previously showing interest to be a SPAC sponsor, is now more keen to become a private investment in public equity (PIPE) sponsor in upcoming opportunities, added sources.

The SGX has suffered lacklustre trades, corporate scandals and delistings in recent times. Since the beginning of 2021, there have been just four listings on the SGX Mainboard raising S$314 million ($231 million) in total.

Observers point to the rise of regional bourses like Indonesia’s IDX and Thailand’s SET which are set to capture unicorns emerging from their local markets, thanks to ample liquidity on their exchanges.

Singapore on the other hand, while home to many Southeast Asian tech giants, has already lost three tech unicorns to foreign exchanges. They are NYSE-listed Sea Ltd, Hong Kong-listed Razer, and Nasdaq-bound Grab which is set to list by the end of this year as part of a record $40 billion SPAC merger with Altimeter Acquisition Corp.

Singapore has so far shown that it is trying earnestly to reverse this trend.

Last month, the Southeast Asian city-state unveiled a package of funding and incentive measures as part of efforts to attract high-growth enterprises to list locally. These include a $1 billion co-investment fund called Anchor Fund @ 65, as well as a $500 million pre-IPO fund by EDBI aimed at investing directly into growth-stage firms with a view to publicly list on the SGX.

DealStreetAsia has reached out to Vertex Holdings for comment.

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.