Dieter Wemmer, a veteran insurance executive who was chief financial officer at Allianz SE, is launching a blank-check company to target deals in the sector where he worked for more than three decades, people familiar with the matter said.
Wemmer plans to raise about 250 million euros ($300 million) on the Amsterdam stock exchange in May, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information. He’s teaming up with Murray Wood and Santiago Corral, co-owners of insurance-focused investment firm Nazare Capital, to create the SPAC.
The executives have begun speaking with potential investors, the people said. They’re considering seeking targets among technology players in the insurance space, the people said. Wemmer, who’s a German national, will be executive chairman of the SPAC while Wood will serve as its chief executive officer, according to the people.
Bank of America Corp. is advising on the SPAC, the people said. Wemmer and a representative for Bank of America declined to comment, while a spokesperson for Nazare couldn’t be reached for comment.
A veteran of European finance, Wemmer worked at Allianz until 2017 and previously held the CFO role at Zurich Insurance Group AG, where he joined the industry in 1986. He still has board positions at Swiss bank UBS Group AG and Danish renewables giant Orsted A/S. Last year, Wemmer teamed up with activist investor Elliott Management Corp. to push for change at Dutch insurer NN Group NV.
He joins a growing cohort of financiers from the region in jumping into the SPAC frenzy, which has been spreading from the U.S. to Europe. Former bank CEOs Jean Pierre Mustier, Martin Blessing and Tidjane Thiam are among those working on blank-check companies this year.
These vehicles raise investor money in the equity markets to fund takeovers of privately-held targets and have become firmly established among corporate chieftains, politicians and celebrities, with many launching multiple SPACs.
More than 300 blank-check companies globally have completed IPOs this year to raise a combined $101.7 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s already more than last year’s record annual haul.
Despite a recent uptick in Europe, the trend is just starting on the continent and the U.S. is still the dominant venue for such listings. Four blank-check have gone public through IPOs on European exchanges so far this year to raise $1.5 billion, about triple the amount raised in the whole of 2020, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Photograph: A statue of Mercury, the Roman god of trade, stands over the trading floor inside the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, operated by Euronext NV, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on Tuesday, June 16, 2020. Photo credit: Yuriko Nakao/Getty Images.