The blank cheque company set up by the former chair of European banking at Barclays has signed a deal to take logistics and transport company, MNG Airlines public.

The special purpose acquisition company called Golden Falcon Acquisition Corp was unveiled in December 2020 with a number of big-name finance executives at the helm. It raised $345m through an IPO and has now announced plans to merge with MNG, with an enterprise value of $676m. The deal is expected to complete in the first half of 2023 and will see the company listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Makram Azar, who also runs the private investment firm Full Circle Capital, is a well-known figure in investment banking. He left his role as Barclays’ chair of banking for Europe, the Middle East and Africa in July 2018, having previously held senior roles at KKR and Lehman Brothers.

READ Ex-Barclays chair Makram Azar increases Spac to $300m amid surging demand

“We screened over 500 companies and conducted in-depth due diligence on many companies and our process resulted in identifying a company that offers the market a differentiated, high-quality business,” Azar said in a 7 December statement.

Scott Freidheim, the former European head at alternative investment firm Investcorp Holdings and an ex-Lehman executive, serves as chair of Golden Falcon and former London Stock Exchange boss, Xavier Rolet, serves on its board.

READ Meet the high-flying bankers riding the Spac wave

Spacs boomed in the first half of last year, with $159bn being raised throughout 2021 — easily surpassing the 2020 high of $71bn. But the frenzy has slumped throughout 2022 with many blank cheque companies struggling to find investment targets before the two-year deadline.

On 5 December, former Barclays boss Bob Diamond’s Spac, Concord Acquisition Corp, announced that it was terminating a deal to merge with crypto firm, Circle. The deal sought a valuation of up to $9bn for Circle in February, ahead of a crisis in the crypto sector that has seen coin values plummet and high-profile collapses including exchange FTX.

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