Veteran investor Foley to raise $1.5 billion through two new SPACs

FILE PHOTO: Jun 21, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley arrives on the red carpet before the 2017 NHL Awards and Expansion Draft at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - Serial Wall Street investor Bill Foley confirmed plans on Wednesday to raise $1.5 billion by taking two blank-check firms public, the latest in a series of deals involving special purpose acquisition companies.

The SPACs, named Austerlitz Acquisition Corp I and II, are aiming to raise $500 million and $1 billion, respectively, by selling shares and units.

SPACs - shell companies that raise funds through an IPO to take a private company public - have become a popular route to public markets for firms looking to avoid the scrutiny and struggles attached to a traditional IPO.

Foley is among Wall Street’s most prolific investors and has raised billions so far through multiple blank-check firms.

In recent months, Foley Trasimene Acquisition Corp I and II agreed to take U.S. benefits services provider Alight Solutions LLC and payments platform Paysafe Group Holdings Ltd public.

The Battle of Austerlitz, also known as the Battle of the Three Emperors, was regarded as one of Napoleon’s greatest military triumphs, where French forces defeated larger armies belonging to Russia and Austria in December 1805.

The reference to historical battles follows on from Foley’s last two SPACs, which were named after a conflict at Lake Trasimene involving the Carthaginians and the Romans in the second-century BC.

Credit Suisse, J.P. Morgan and BofA Securities are the lead underwriters for the latest offerings.

Reuters was first to report Foley’s plans.

Reporting by Sohini Podder in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty