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People and MarketsComment

Spac-tacular chance


The emergence of special purpose acquisition companies (Spacs) in Europe provides opportunities for banks and former bankers alike.

As famed M&A banker Andrea Orcel readies for life at the helm of UniCredit, his predecessor Jean Pierre Mustier — who was somewhat cautious about consolidation while at the Italian bank — is planning to list a Spac.

The vehicle, called Pegasus, is set to be listed in Amsterdam and will be focused on the European financial sector. Mustier is working on the project with LVMH founder Bernard Arnault, former Bank of America Merrill Lynch investment banker Diego De Giorgi and Tikehau Capital.

Spacs also offer an opportunity to current bankers, of course. JP Morgan has given two bankers extra responsibility for them in Europe, the Middle East and Africa; the pair are Guillermo Baygual, the current co-head of M&A for the region, and Lukasz Dziarnowski, a senior M&A banker focused on central and eastern Europe and the Middle-East.

An internal memo said that since the start of October, Spac M&A volume in Europe has made up 12% of the global market, quadruple the share it had during the first nine months of 2020.  

Spacs have been one contributor to banks' impressive equity capital markets results recently. On that front, last week Credit Suisse reported strong figures, with ECM revenues more than doubling in 2020. The bank said its share of the ECM fee wallet rose from 3.8% in 2019 to 5.6% in 2020.

Barclays also reported last week, and said that it grew market share in the markets business, across both fixed income, currencies and commodities (FICC) and equities.

Elsewhere, UniCredit bankers were reacting to a report in the Financial Times that their global head of equity syndicate and ECM, Jana Hecker, had worked privately for Markus Braun, former chief executive of Wirecard. GlobalCapital understands that staff close to Hecker had not known of her relationship with Braun.

Meanwhile, back at JP Morgan, Charlie Jacobs, senior partner and chairman at law firm Linklaters, is to become co-head of UK investment banking. He is replacing Ed Byers, who is moving to be vice-chair of UK investment banking, having asked — it is understood — to take on more of a client-facing role. JP Morgan's other head of UK investment banking is David Lomer.

JP Morgan seems to be enjoying these cross-sector moves: as Notebook recounted last week, it has also chosen former politician Chuka Umunna to be head of ESG for EMEA.

Finally, HSBC has hired Celine Herweijer as group chief sustainability officer, joining in July from PwC. Daniel Klier, group head of sustainable finance, is leaving; the new hire is understood to be taking on his responsibilities.