Xavier Niel’s Bio Food Spac debuts in Paris

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A blank check company founded by telecoms billionaire Xavier Niel and two other top French businessmen jumped on its first day of trading after raising € 300m in the largest public offering on the Paris market this year.

2MX Organic aims to acquire companies involved in the fast growing sectors of organic food and durable consumer goods.

The successful listing shows that the booming investor appetite for Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (Spac) is no longer confined to the United States, and European entrepreneurs are stepping in.

The trio behind 2MX Organic also includes Centerview investment banker Matthieu Pigasse and retail entrepreneur Moez-Alexandre Zouari, who built his fortune as a franchise partner of the Casino supermarket chain.

They told the Financial Times that their goal was to “build a organic food championAnd intended to make their first acquisition next year. Like other Spacs, they have raised cash from investors on the basis that managers will either buy a business or return the money after a certain date if they are unable to complete a purchase in both. years.

Shares of 2MX Organic rose about 30 percent at the open before slashing gains to trade 6 percent higher by noon in Paris on Wednesday.

The trio are betting that they will be able to consolidate a still fragmented organic food market in Europe by acquiring both producers or food brands, as well as retail outlets.

Demand for organic food in Europe has more than doubled
average on the continent since 2010, according to
company listing prospectus. French consumers were among the most avid buyers.

“There is a revolution going on in organic food and there is no market leader,” said Mr. Pigasse. “Investors were drawn to our thesis, as well as the team and the fact that two of us have already done a Spac.”

He said about 45 percent of those who bought shares were from France, 20 percent from the United States and the rest mostly from the United Kingdom.

Messrs Pigasse and Niel created the first Spac in France in 2015 with the aim of consolidating the television production industry. Their company, Mediawan, has since acquired some thirty companies to become a leader in scripted dramas in Europe.

Deutsche Bank was the global coordinator of the 2MX Organic listing and Société Générale was the bookrunner.

After the listing, Mr. Zouari held 11.5 percent of the shares, while Messrs. Niel and Pigasse each held 6.7 percent, leaving a free float of 75 percent.

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